Mega Food Bank Offers Hope in Austin
AUSTIN, TEX. – The Austin Spanish First Seventh-day Adventist Church has had an active food bank for more than two years serving its community. Every Wednesday, 300 to 700 vehicles line up for food assistance in the church parking lot. Every three months, a Mega Food Bank Day is held on Sabbath. More than 1,400 people were served during the March 26, 2022 event.
Hadiel Perugorria challenged his congregation to sacrifice their worship service for these special Sabbaths four times a year. Adjusting all the church’s activities for the Mega Food Bank which is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. was not easy. Volunteer staff and community friends soon realized though that Sabbath was the most viable day for everyone to be involved.
Friends from other denominations helped as well, as volunteers unloaded the merchandise from the huge trucks, sorted the products, boxed them in the right order and then placed them in the attendee’s vehicle.
Most of the product palettes arrive on Fridays. The Mega Food Bank kicks off as early as 7 a.m. with the deaconesses cooking a delicious breakfast for more than 50 volunteers. The deacons set up traffic cones in the parking lot to lead the long lines of vehicles and young people share cardboard messages with selected verses of hope.
Pablo Castro, general coordinator for the project, demonstrated great management skill as he grouped and briefed the volunteers. The pastor offered a word of prayer for all involved, as well as those being assisted.
In addition to food, the church’s evangelism team shared hundreds of bags of bilingual literature, including items for children. Vehicle by vehicle they offered greetings, literature, invitations to church activities and even drive-thru prayers to those interested.
Nurses offered vaccinations to those interested inside the church fellowship hall. On the north side of Austin, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is known in the community for its generous giving and good attitude.
During 2021, Austin Spanish First church members shared 834,947 pounds of products. They had a total of 416 volunteers giving 504 hours of their personal time. More than 36,478 families and 9,262 individuals were served and some 2,865 new families were added annually.
More than 1,400 attendees took Christian literature home on March 26, 2022, planting seeds for the Lord to do His work. Perugorría shared that volunteers coming from the community have shown the most interest in the gospel message.
The most beautiful thing about this missional effort on that Sabbath is that the volunteers exercised true piety. The word of Jesus was confirmed when He shared, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Luke 14.
By Sergio Rodriguez
Hispanic Ministries &
Spanish Evangelism Associate Director