COVID Shutdowns Not Stopping Thanksgiving Helpings to Seniors and Homeless
When COVID restrictions shut down major food pantry and hot meal giveaway programs in Santa Monica, the core team of volunteers at Metro Church (otherwise known as Metropolis) didn’t flinch. Led by ministry leaders, it continued to provide groceries and meals to seniors and homeless. Again, they didn’t falter when tensions in the city rose and rioters robbed and destroyed downtown business structures.
Metro is an anomaly at a time when many churchgoers feel that they are left with only an online alternative to in-person social interaction or “fellowship.” It seems that understanding exactly how essential “being of service” together with one another is yet to be fully discovered.
By God’s grace, evidenced through key leaders, businesses, and organizations throughout Santa Monica, Metro continues its successful outreach. The church is “stepping up” and not letting COVID shutdowns stop Thanksgiving plans either.
For more than a year, Metro Church has been partnering with others in the “community” of Santa Monica (pop. 91k+) to share a warm meal each week with about 150-200 local seniors and homeless individuals. When the pandemic hit in March, the church became one of the only services in the area to provide takeout meals each Sunday. WATCH VIDEO ABOVE.
“It’s been an amazing and humbling experience to see just how God provides each and every week,” the church states in its email letter about its upcoming Thanksgiving outreach. The letter also states:
“With a number of other local Thanksgiving outreach events cancelled this year due to COVID (including the huge Westside Thanksgiving Celebration), we’re stepping up to provide FREE hot Thanksgiving takeout meals to our neighbors as an expanded version of our weekly outreach. There will be turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pie, and more! And we’re also hoping to give out hygiene kits and cold-weather gear, including a blanket, socks, caps & scarves, and other essentials that are so needed right now. We’re expecting a very large group of guests (300-400), so to provide the best meal and personal care items possible, we do have a lot of needs to fill!”
To begin to understand why followers of Jesus would “step up” during times of crises, such as is the case today, we can begin to look inside the Bible.
In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
In a word study on thanksgiving as used in the above verses, Dr. Dan Hayden writes:
The word for thanksgiving here in the original Greek text is the word eucharistia – “to show favor for what is good; to be thankful or full of thanks and praise.” The prefix eu means good, and the noun to which it is attached, charis, means favor, or grace. So the word eucharistia has the idea of expressing good favor toward someone, or in other words, to be thankful. This is the word from which we get the word, Eucharist (the celebration of the Lord’s table). When we celebrate the Eucharist (the communion), we are literally expressing thanks or good favor to Christ for His sacrifice for our sins.
Now, the text says that when we make our requests to God by the means of prayer and supplication, we are to do it with thanksgiving. In other words, we are to come to God with a positive spirit. We need to be thankful for who He is. We need to be thankful that He’s interested in our situation. We need to be thankful that He’s there for us, and that we can rely upon Him to meet our needs.
The point is this: if we want to be relieved of our worry and to experience the wonderful peace of God, then we have to bring everything to God in prayer – wrapped in the spirit of thanksgiving.
In other words, thanksgiving is essential and God is telling us not to harbor any thoughts to the contrary.
For more information on Metro Church’s Thanksgiving outreach, go to https://metropolissm.com/thanksgiving.