President Matt Rupert welcomed our speaker, Jeff Downing, director of the Gold Canyon United Methodist Food Bank.

 

The Gold Canyon United Methodist Church has had a small food bank for 22 years, providing emergency food supplies for individuals and families in need. They work out of a 15’ x 35’ room, which can be a challenge, as the food bank served 7,044 bags of food in 2014, feeding 10,173 people – as compared to 1,370 bags of food in 2009. Their efforts also help support another heavily homeless Methodist Food Bank in Phoenix. The Gold Canyon Food Bank is open year round, Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to noon, and 4:30pm to 8pm on Wednesdays.

 

The food bank is fortunate to have experienced examples of divine intervention in their ministry. In August of 2011, a homeless man who was walking from Phoenix to Globe, came in, hoping for a better pair of shoes. His own shoes were worn out sneakers with the heels cut off so they would fit. “We are a food bank,” Jeff told him. “We don’t normally have clothing or shoes, but I will check for you.” Jeff checked the miscellaneous shelf, and there was one pair of shoes; a new pair of Adidas sneakers, size 12D. As it turned out, the man’s shoe size was 12D. Smiling, the man told Jeff, “I haven’t had a new pair of shoes in over 11 years.” Jeff told him, “They were here for you.”

 

Jeff shared that it is commonplace to receive donations of needed food and toiletry items within five minutes of running out. “It happens all the time. These occurrences magnify the pleasure of serving the Gold Canyon United Methodist Church’s Food Bank mission and our local community.”

 

The food bank does not require extensive paperwork from those who are asking for help. “If you come in and say you need help, we will help.”

 

“We have three communities of homeless individuals who live about a mile or so out, in the desert, south of highway 60. And we assist several families with up to 16 members. Nowadays, though, ‘family’ doesn’t necessarily mean mother, father, and 14 kids. There’s a lot of what we refer to as ‘blended families’ out there; there may be 7 adults, 3 kids, and 2 grandchildren – just people getting together because they can’t afford to live independently.”

 

“You never know where these folks are going to come from, but you can pretty much tell they have a need when they walk in the door.”

 

Everyone who works at the Gold Canyon United Methodist Church Food Bank is a volunteer. They currently have about 50 volunteers. The food bank is located behind the business office at the church. Recipients are allowed to take food bags twice monthly.

 

Jeff asks that when you shop, please pick up a couple of items to donate. “We thank you for your support; you just may be part of God’s next miracle.”