Spring 2022

Dear friend of Loaves and Fishes:

Since late February, many of us have been following the news with anxiety and praying for the crisis in Ukraine and neighboring countries. In a short period of time, millions of Ukrainians have fled their country, and millions more have been displaced inside the country. Europe and the rest of the world now have a sudden humanitarian crisis on our hands and the need to quickly provide Ukrainians with medical care, food and shelter — to save lives.

To many of us Americans, Ukraine and Eastern Europe are so far away, and we feel helpless in this crisis. Aside from giving money to relief organizations that are providing assistance on site, we wish we could be of more direct assistance to people in great need. But even while there are enormous needs far away that are visible to us hourly on our TVs and internet screens, we know there are ongoing needs right here in our own neighborhood.

And I am pleased to say that many of those needs are still being met. Because of your generous support through your donations and the volunteering of time by many of you, the program is buzzing as it and the rest of the country open up again from pandemic shutdowns. We can help — and we are helping — where there are needs that are close to us, which is one important way that we can respond to the world’s needs.

On a Saturday in February, the Loaves and Fishes facilities were humming with activity. Even though the dining room still wasn’t being used for serving hot meals inside at that time, nutritious food was getting to people. Volunteers were busy on all fronts: Some in the kitchen cooking food, others in the dining room assembling bags of groceries, and still others outside distributing those bags.

Even if you weren’t one of those volunteers on that Saturday or haven’t volunteered before, you are present on the days that Loaves and Fishes operates. When you give a monetary donation, you are there through the food that is purchased and distributed, in the operation of the building and equipment, and in the work of the paid staff who run the program.

As I have reported in these quarterly letters, the program never stopped operating during the pandemic. The Loaves and Fishes Management Board also never stopped its monthly meetings. Now, even as the pandemic (hopefully) wanes, Loaves and Fishes is eagerly anticipating a return to its previous way of operating, but it is also looking into additional ways of providing for the needs of people in the ward and rest of the city going outside the boundaries of its property. The board recently approved a proposal to share some of the bounty Loaves and Fishes has. With some extra funds, the program can purchase additional food, which can be distributed by other nearby churches. Thanks to your support of the program, Loaves and Fishes not only maintained its operations during the pandemic, but its strength grew in some ways, so much so that we are able to consider some “satellite operations” or sharing this ministry of food outreach with other parishes.

It’s certainly heartbreaking to watch the war in Ukraine happening, and it’s hard to not be able to contribute in a direct and meaningful way to refugees and displaced Ukrainians from so far away. Many of you are, no doubt, generous and are giving to church-related and other aid organizations that are assisting in and near Ukraine. But let’s also continue to do our part in our community. If we each do our part and remember the needs of neighbors close to us while also helping to meet the needs of people far from us when we can, then we can ensure that all people have enough to eat.

With appreciation,

Nigel Collie
Chair, Loaves and Fishes Management Board

P.S. As we pray for peace in Ukraine, let us also pray for peace in our own community around Loaves and Fishes. We have the ability to make that peace tangible. Bringing peace means helping families experiencing hunger erase the worry over where their next meal will come from on weekends, when most other food programs aren’t operating. When they get food from Loaves and Fishes, people have the food and nutrition they need so they can be healthy and strong, which enables them to attend school and go to work and live abundant, productive lives. That’s what Loaves and Fishes desires for people, and you can be part of that when you give.