By Jason Tipton, NAMB/Send Relief Missionary
When I pulled up to make my first food delivery in the middle of COVID, I grabbed the box full of groceries with a couple of additional grocery sacks stuffed with fresh fruits and vegetables. The disruption of school schedules was evident with kids playing outside and not where they would normally be at school.
I was met in the courtyard by Amina, who with great joy excitingly exclaimed, “My food! My food is here!!” Since mid-April, about 40 volunteers each week (social distancing of course) come together to pack food for families who reached out for help. Each week over 175 people are served.
Derick Sherfey from the Oaks Church has been leading the way in this effort and asked Send Relief to partner with him. For the past two years The Oaks church has been building relationships at a refugee magnet school in their neighborhood that is home to families speaking 60 different languages from over 40 nations. Sherfey says, “When COVID-19 hit in mid-March they reached out to us to help meet the rising needs of this refugee community. A few weeks later we saw network of multiple local churches, over 6 nonprofits, the City of Denver, and Denver Public School administration come together to provide the essential services to families who needed it the most. We are now beginning conversations to scale and grow these efforts in ways that will long outlast our initial response to this crisis. God is working—even in the midst of a global pandemic!”
Serving Health Care Workers
Also, in the Denver metro area several churches came together to organize a care package drive in their communities for healthcare workers. Send Relief provided snacks and needed items for those care packages. These care packages were distributed to hospitals and nursing homes.
Journey Point Church was one of the churches who participated. Chris Phillips recruited several healthcare workers to distribute the care packages to local hospitals. Prior to COVID, I shared with a neighbor who was looking for a church in Stapleton to recommend to a co-worker, Amy. Months later, Amy, who works at one of the hospitals Journey Point reached out to unexpectedly received a note from Chris personally inviting her to Journey Point along with a care package.
Matt Horne of New City Church on East Colfax typically finds himself checking on neighbors and hotel managers along East Colfax. Send Relief provided Matt with burrito kits to share with those he has been building relationships with over the past year.
Michael Talley planting in Thornton received a call from their local fire department. Michael explains, “We took them dinner one night and explained if there was any way we could help in the future, all they had to do was call.” That phone call came about a week later. Several firemen who had made house calls that day were tired of referring families to food banks when they asked for food. Michael reached out to Send Relief and received emergency backpacks that each held enough food to feed a family of 5 at least 4 meals.
These are just several example of ways Send Relief has been able to equip our churches who are serving our community. As Send Relief continues to establish a ministry center in Denver, we will to continue to execute, model and multiply compassion ministry, always looking and praying for those gospel conversations to be a part of our work!
For more information about how NAMB and Send Relief are serving communities through compassion ministry, please visit sendrelief.org.