Supper on Saturday
What do we do?
We deliver supper every Saturday afternoon and along with supper, we bring a little bit of God's love into the lives of people right here in Niceville and Valparaiso.
In the Fall of 2006, our church participated in Rick Warren’s "40 Days of Community" program. As part of this program, Sunday School classes and small groups were encouraged to reach out to the local community. As a result, many wonderful projects were accomplished and, in some cases, small groups joined together and founded long-term, ongoing projects such as "Supper on Saturday" (SOS). The basis for this ministry is found in Matthew 14:15-21 (NIV)
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered."Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
For SOS, there are two main points in this scripture: (1) Jesus met a practical need (hunger) right where the people were and (2) He worked through his disciples to accomplish the impossible. That is what we do every Saturday: we go where the people are and we feed them, and we accomplish a task through Jesus that we could never do on our own power or our own abilities.
How are we doing this?
We meet at the church kitchen every Saturday morning and prepare our meal for that day. We make a hearty main dish that can be transported in insulated containers and served on location: bean soup, turkey-vegetable soup, chili, pasta dishes, Spanish rice, etc. We also make side dishes that can be individually packaged such as cornbread, cookies, brownies, etc. When the food is done and the kitchen has been cleaned, we pack about 1000 bags and load up the trucks. Each bag contains the side dishes that we have prepared, some type of fruit, donated items such as bagels and breads, a spoon and napkin, and something that says “God loves you”. This might be a cross, a scripture, or an announcement about an upcoming sermon series. We usually have something extra to take along with us: Christmas tins, Valentines, hand-knitted caps, story books about Jesus, Bibles, home-made breads and cookies, candy, toys, stuffed animals, stickers, etc.
What do volunteers say?
The blessings begin as soon as our trucks pull into the neighborhoods. We might be greeted by cheers from the children or by words like “you guys always get here just in time.” We might givefood to a family that has run out of food stamps before theend of the month. We might give supper to a family where mom has moved on and dad is struggling to raise the kids by himself. We might visit someone who is alone and lonely. We might fix a broken bicycle chain or open a stubborn box or share a smile. We might talk to someone about Jesus and give them a Bible. We might pray for someone or invite them to church. Always, we are blessed when we serve.
When asked about her experience working with SOS, one of our volunteers said, "I learned that God uses ministries like SOS not just for those who are being ministered to, but for those who are ministering as well."