December 21, 2019

A Closed Door Opens Opportunity for Youth Group’s Mobile Food Ministry

Samuel Girven, Lake Union Herald

Adventist teens in a youth group named “We Are Called” (WAC) in Cadillac, Michigan, United States, saw the needs of the homeless in their community in 2017 and decided to find ways to help them.

Starting in late 2017 and through mid-2018, WAC gave away more than 150 backpacks filled with daily necessities, complete with a Bible, to those in need.

The majority of the backpacks were handed out in Grand Rapids and Traverse City, Michigan. Later, the group members started serving a dinner of spaghetti while they gave away the backpacks.

“We would drop off backpacks at the shelters at Christmastime along with other Christmas gifts. We were also helping people on the verge of homelessness,” said Brenda Nelson, co-sponsor of WAC. The group started serving a hot meal at the local public library, along with giving away clothes and toiletries. “We would serve approximately 65 people each month. It was something they looked forward to,” Nelson added.

After a period of time, however, the library told the WAC group that they could not continue serving the meals at the library. WAC tried several other options, including serving meals at the local park’s pavilion. However, attendance was lower, and they felt that they should do the service elsewhere. It was only one of the obstacles the group encountered. The State of Michigan and the local Health Department have many regulations that would block the ability of the group to serve food in other locations.

It was then that members of WAC found a loophole. The state and the Health Department do not regulate the use of food trailers. Because of this, in mid-2019, WAC purchased a used food trailer in mint condition.

On December 7, 2019, alone, WAC members helped feed more than 250 people at the trailer and gave away more than 100 copies of The Desire of Ages.

Ministry leaders think it has been a blessing in disguise.

“It is what has allowed us to go anywhere and serve a warm meal of spaghetti, rolls, hot chocolate, and cookies to others, along with giving them some warm clothes,” they said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Lake Union Heraldnews site.