God's Eyes Feed the Hungry - Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faithbut does not have works? Can that faith save him?15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Of all the things we've seen and done here in Latin America, we never would have guessed that the Lord would have us involved in feeding people! But...that's what He has called us to do! Late in March I was talking with a dear sister in the US. I shared that we were concerned about the thousands of families all around us that would have no work and no food if the economy was locked down. She said,"Where can I send money to help?"
That started it all...we took her seed money, matched it, and off we went. Right off the bat, we ran into challenges because all the stores were restricting purchases due to the virus panic. So...we started with two 20-pound bags of rice, 50 pounds of beans, some pasta and sardines. As more local brothers and sisters joined what would become Team FTH (Feed the Hungry), they started buying whatever the stores would sell them to pitch in. Within a couple of weeks, God brought an awesome Panamanian lady into our lives. She lives right behind us and knows everybody, and she's a businesswoman that knows how to get things done in Panama!
Our new friend introduced us to producers and distributors where we could purchase supplies at rock-bottom prices, and walked us through getting government permission to travel to purchase and distribute food even when the country was completely locked down.
Now, with direct access to producers and distributors, we purchase in quantity to stretch every dollar. We purchase 1,500 - 2,000 pounds of rice and beans every week, cooking oil and flour by the pallet, and other supplies in bulk from local suppliers. God has given us amazing favor, with some vendors selling to us at their cost because they know the food is going to their hungry neighbors.
From the beginning, God made it clear to us that we were not to seek approval and accolades from the people here, but to work in secret, as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:1-4:
1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4
With God's incredible blessings, provision and favor, we've gone from delivering just a few dozen small (11-pound) bags of food our first week, to over 200 23-pound bags a week in only three months. God has given us amazing ministry partners that know their communities and facilitate delivery of the food to the most needy families. We have several distribution partners that each receive from 20-100 bags each week, based on the needs in the communities they serve. When people ask where the food came from, they are just told, "From the God that made everything Who cares about you and your needs". It opens the door for the sharing of the Gospel. Also included in every food bag is an encouraging page of scriptures in the form of a conversation with God, plus a tract that explains how one can receive God's free gift of eternal life.
That's a lot of talking!
Let us show you what Team FTH has been doing for the last twelve weeks!
This is a video produced for one of our distribution ministry partners, Manos de Fe (Hands of Faith). FTH provided the 100 food bags, over 2,300 pounds of food, and assisted with delivery to this neighborhood in support of their outreach there.
One of the homes int the Los Lomas community
There are so many stories of God's amazing provision for literally thousands of desperate families that are out of work and have no resources with which to buy food. We have found that, just like with eyeglasses, when we share God's love and meet a physical need it opens the door to meeting their spiritual needs as well. Pastors have told us that families that previously had no interest were open the the Gospel once they experienced God's love through the 23 pounds of food provided for their families.
What is in the Food Bags and What do They Cost?
Each bag contains the following: 5 pounds of rice, 3 pounds of beans, 5 pounds of flour, 1.8L of cooking oil, 1 pound of sugar, 1 pound of salt, 14oz of spaghetti, 1 sauce packet, 8 oz of fresh ground coffee, 2 pounds of potatoes and 1 pound of onions.
The cost for each bag is currently $13.50. Team FTH is all volunteers, so there is no overhead - every dollar donated goes directly to purchase food. Currently, we average 200 bags, or 4,600 pounds of food distributed each week, at a cost of $2,700.
What Have We Done So Far?
God has blessed Team FTH with this amazing responsibility and opportunity to serve Him by serving 'the least of these' since the first of April. It is now early July, and so far He has blessed Team FTH to share:
OVER 2,600 Bags of Food Staples, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Plus Bulk Rice and Beans,
A Total of over 60,000 Pounds of Food Delivered to Desperate Families
In Dozens of Poor Communities All Over Western Panama
How Is FTH Funded?
We are completely funded by donations. We trust God's faithful to obey the Holy Spirit's urging to supply the resources to feed His hungry children here in Panama. Because we are all volunteers, we have essentially no overhead. The only overhead we have are bank transfer and PayPal fees, which we cover... so every dollar given goes directly to the purchase of food for starving families.
Is FTH Transparent About Their Spending?
Absolutely. If a supporter wants to know exactly where their money is going, we can (and will) tell them exactly when and where their donation was put into action.
Three Month (April-June, 2020) Financials
Total Donations: $33,301.77
Total Expenses: $31,818.01
Total Remaining: $ 1,483.76, which will cover food purchases until July 8, 2020.
How Can I Help?
You can become part of Team FTH! No matter where you live, you can be a part of the amazing work that God is doing here in Panama through God's Eyes Feed the Hungry!
We are people from many denominations and all walks of life, functioning as the Body of Christ here on earth, to serve His Kingdom by sharing God's love, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the gift of food to starving families. Click here to become part of the team: