Students Feed the Hungry in South Bend
Nearly every Friday around 5:30 p.m., people in need flock to the Midas parking lot on the corner of S. Michigan St. and E. Monroe St. in South Bend. They know that Feed the Hungry from Bethel College will be there — and they know they will get a good meal.
Led by senior Lindsay Stork (’13), a liberal arts major, and junior Jordan Morris (’14), a youth ministry major, the team prays at Bethel before driving over to Midas. When they get there, they make quick work of transforming their trunks into food and drink stations. On a typical Friday, they serve more than 50 people.
When the food distribution begins, it is controlled chaos, as many reach out hungry hands. Stork reminds everyone that there is enough food; this Friday there are 80 slices of pizza, 50 sandwiches and more than 100 bags of chips and snacks.
The chaos subsides as people eat and converse, relaxing into more of a family-type atmosphere. Bethel volunteers continue to usher people through the lines, reserving some pizza for latecomers.
Stork, who has been serving since her freshman year, greets several “regulars” with smiles and pats on the back, and they catch up on life. She calls them by name and recalls their stories.
“My week would not be complete without Feed the Hungry,” she says.
Dan Armstrong, who has been coming on Fridays for the past year, says he really appreciates these students.
“This is a good thing they do for us,” he says. “In rain or sleet, they come out.” It seems that generosity is contagious as Armstrong gives his bag of chips to a woman who didn’t get any.
For Morris, serving on Fridays is an opportunity for evangelism.
“It’s a real opportunity to spread God’s kingdom,” he says. And though some just eat and leave, others stay and ask for prayer.
A “regular” affectionately known as “Mama D” rides the bus out every Friday to visit with everyone.
“I can really feel the love and fellowship,” she says. “It’s about community. You walk up and pray for strangers. After a while they aren’t strangers anymore.”
She was there when the ministry initially started with Bethel basketball player and current Bethel Basketball Coach Ryne Lightfoot in 2008. And what began as Bethel athletes giving their extra food to those in need has transformed into a weekly ministry with a core group of students and volunteers who consistently go out to serve. Stork’s parents and brother have gotten involved — going out even when Stork and other students can’t make it.
Throughout the school year, the majority of the food is donated by Bethel students who use their extra meal swipes to purchase food. Collection boxes (for chips and other nonperishable items) have been set up in residence halls on Bethel’s campus, and Stork says they’ve had a great response. In addition, the Feed the Hungry team gets a discount on Little Caesar’s Pizza.
The team has even brought the needy to campus, shuttling them in for a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal last year.
Through food and fellowship, Feed the Hungry is feeding a need in South Bend, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Both Stork and Morris are training up underclassmen to take their places when they graduate.