Ministry offers free bread
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Joanna Young hands Lea DeHart and her son, Westin, free rolls and a loaf of bread that is part of the Free Bread Ministry held weekly at Sun Valley Vol. Fire Company.
Emanuel Young lives in the Sun Valley area. He knew that he had neighbors who were hurting due to these difficult economic times. He asked the Lord what he could do to help them. He understood that even a loaf of bread can be a huge help to someone hungry.
As the pastor at Word of Faith Church in Allentown, for the last 15 years, his parish runs a mission for people who live on the streets. On a daily basis, they offer coffee, juice, water, bread and sometimes sandwiches when food items are available.
He wondered what he could do for his own neighbors.
He was able to make arrangements with a Giant grocery store on Union Boulevard, Allentown, who works with nonprofit entities, like the Word of Faith Church's mission, for donations of loaves of bread, every week.
At first, he and his wife, Joanna, set up a stand alongside the main road in the Sun Valley development, with a sign that said, "Free Bread," which they gave out once a week.
"It got awfully hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We approached the Sun Valley Vol. Fire Co. to see if they would allow us to hold our bread giveaway inside and they opened their doors and hearts to our ministry," says Pastor Young.
For the last two years, every Tuesday, from 2-4 p.m., the doors are open at Sun Valley Vol. Fire Co. Free bread and rolls are distributed to anyone in need. No questions asked.
What started out as an outreach of a couple of loaves of bread to help sustain a person or a family through the week, has resulted in so much more. Now, through the Word of Faith Church, not only can someone in need receive free bread, but every Tuesday, from 2-4 p.m., a person can come and eat a light lunch, sometimes a hot dog, sometimes soup, with maybe a slice of apple pie or a piece of cake, with some coffee or a cold drink.
But there are hungers of all kinds, and Pastor Young understands those needs as well. That is why, those who visit the Tuesday Free Bread ministry are not asked to fill out any forms and there are no financial requirements.
"We don't ask anyone where they come from," says Pastor Young. "Sometimes, people just need to socialize with other people. Maybe they need to sit and chat with someone over a cup of coffee. They can come here for that too."
The ministry serves between 40-50 people each week.
Wayne Choinsky says as a senior living in the country, it's hard finding a place to get together with others.
"This is providing a place to come to meet and help people," he says.
A couple of years ago on his way to work, Pastor Young would pass children waiting to get on the bus for school, standing in the cold with no winter coats or hats.
"I asked the Lord, why am I here? And I heard his answer ... to buy these children coats."
Now at Christmas time, they have a party and through donations, the ministry hands out coats to children in need of them.
"The Pastor is good to everybody, " says Golden Ward.
Lea DeHart, a young mother, who takes advantage of the free bread and the lunch for her and her one-year-old son, Westin, says that the Free Bread ministry is very much appreciated.
"It's friendship. A great cause. We look forward to it. It is truly a blessing," she says.
"I think what we do here is showing somebody cares. I know what the economy is. I hear from my neighbors how hard it is. I can't be a missionary, but I can help someone in my neighborhood," says Joanna Young, the pastor's wife.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone," because he understood that man needs sustenance for the soul as well as the body.
This little ministry in a small neighborhood understands that in a big way.