In the fall of 2006, Merlin Gonzales and a few volunteers agreed to do the first FHL Mobile Food Pantry. FHL partnered with a Hispanic business that allowed us to give the food in the grocery store. One of our partners owned one of the Latino newspapers in town and she did a half-page ad at no cost to us.
The pantry attracted almost 100 families. The first pantry had less than 10 volunteers but was able to give a lot of grocery items from a food bank and other sources. For the next 2 years, FHL food pantries were held in churches, schools and parking lots. FHL did not have problems in attracting recipients because of the follow up system.
After 2 years, FHL introduced prayers at pantries. The recipients seem open and soon it became a regular part of each pantry. Through the process of partnering with different organizations at different locations, FHL developed procedures overtime. The leaders learned how to interact with different denominations, ethnic groups and traditions. The Lord walked the organization through many on-the-job training that were vital to the development creative evangelism. The leaders learned more how to interact with the different segments of our society.
However, setting up and tearing down of food pantry sites at different location became a hindrance to serve more people and to share the Gospel. The idea of starting a food pantry at churches and other sites became obvious. FHL would be able to serve more people and would be able to share its experience with others.
The informal training and partnership emerged. Horizon Christian Fellowship Central was the first food pantry that FHL helped start. It is now a vital part of the Fountain Square neighborhood in Indianapolis.
Through prayers and hard work, God had birth the FHL Food Pantry Incubation. It is now that mission of FHL to incubate food pantries in central Indiana.
The FHL Food Pantry School became a work in progress document. In the class, you will learn that practical and spiritual application of the Bible. You will see that your friends and/or congregation can be a part of the tapestry of a food pantry. Young and old, rich and poor has a place in a food pantry such as the Outreach Team, Prayer Team and Community Relations Team.
An idea of feeding the hungry and reaching out to those in need had evolved to be a powerful tool to engage the community in sharing the love of God. The end result is that the hungry are fed, the Gospel is being shared and more people are becoming Christ-like in their communities. The food pantries are becoming missional communities.