Volunteers of Saddleback Church in Southern California's Orange County have helped distribute food at more than 300 grocery distributions throughout the county.
The congregation seeks to follow the example of Jesus by not running away from the problem but running towards the problem and helping those in need as Pastor Rick Warren shared.
"Pastor Rick has said that, as Christians, we are called to step into the places of pain. In a time when the world is scared and hurting, instead of running away from that, we're going to run towards the pain and met people where they are," Ashley Eure, Saddleback's communications minister, shared.
The O.C. Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Bank are Saddleback Church's partner in the food distribution and the Second Harvest Food Bank reported that one in six children in Orange County is at risk of hunger. Other at-risk people that total up to more than 450,000 people are seniors with fixed incomes, people with disabilities, and the homeless.
"When COVID hit, we scaled up our distribution to meet the rapidly increasing need. Every Southern California Saddleback campus has contributed to putting on food distributions and caring for the physical and spiritual needs families are facing right now," Ashley Eure said.
The food distribution is planning to continue its service throughout September in the following cities: Anaheim, Corona, Irvine South, Lake Forest, Laguna Woods, Rancho Capistrano, and San Clemente areas.
"One hour served in the grocery distribution feeds a family for a week!" Saddleback church welcomes more volunteers of ages 8 and older and in which those ages 8 to 12 are required to be accompanied by a parent.
When the pandemic started in March, 158 food pantries closed almost immediately in Orange County. Rana Muncy, the director of Saddleback's mission for the church's regional campuses believed that as a church, they had to "scale up."
"Just since March 9, we have given away 3 million pounds of groceries to people in need, and we help anybody who says they have a need. They have given it away from L.A. to San Diego."
To help distribute groceries to those in need in O.C., visit Saddleback Church Grocery Distributions.