It was a busy Saturday at Children's Hunger Fund located in Homewood. Groups from Parkview Christian Church, to Living Springs Church came together to help pack food for children going hungry in the south suburbs.
One of the students was from Lincoln-way North and came with her friends from Parkview Church. " There are a lot of children who are hungry, said Alexa. We take for granted the food that we have everyday. Some people here don't think about others who are starving in other places of the world."
Student ministries intern, Daniel Thompson from Parkview church in Orland Park was happy with what his group accomplished. " We like to give our students the opportunity to serve, it's a mark of maturity in their faith. We know they will be doing something for someone else."
As boxes were being packed and toys were being stacked, about 15 people were in the training room getting to know how the Children's Hunger Fund will help their church.
Mike Busch, the Ministry Development Director for the Midwest Children's Hunger Fund taught the training along with Nick. Mike, who has worked for CHF for over 4 years explains the heart of the ministry. " We are geared towards meeting the needs of children with a long term approach, not a short term fix. This is really unique because Children's Hunger Fund works through local churches, which is the best way to minister to families in need."
Children's Hunger Fund began in Los Angeles California about 20 years ago. The organization has been given a 5 star financial efficiency rating by Ministry Watch.
Busch explains about servicing in south suburban areas. " We'd like to get ayone involved in the south suburban area that would like to. If it's a church, we want to get behind you and help the people in your community. If your a civic group and you want to volunteer, we'd love to have you. We have volunteer days here regularly. We're always working with people to help others, especially in the south suburbs. Families are also welcome to volunteer. If you know of a company or organization that produces food or get behind a charity, we would appreciate the introductions."
The Children's Hunger Fund Midwest serves the Chicagoland area from Rockford to Kankakee. The ministry also donates to Northwest Indiana and has churches involved in Michigan as well. They are looking to expand into more urban areas. Busch encourages people to get involved. " We need to continually get the word out about what we're doing. We need to keep meeting churches that are like minded. We need funding and volunteers to come behind us, the more people that get behind us, the more we can do."
Are there hungry around us? " We hear from churches in the south suburbs who run into families that are going hungry, says Busch. They might be in town you wouldn't drive through or your neighbor struggling to make ends meet. There is a constant growing demand of people in need. We'd love to hear from churches that want to help them."
Nick, who oversees the relationships with the network of churches is passionate about his role at Children's HUnger Fund. " Local churches really are called in the followings of Jesus to love their brother, their neighbor and their enemy. In order to be part of this ministry, we have a process we go through with each church. We want to make sure their is a good foundation in place. We'll do a site visit, we do training and we ask each church to write a plan for what Children's Hunger Fund will look like in their community."
New Life Baptist Church in Chicago Heights is ready to roll. They have been involved in the community for over 20 years. Church member, Alice Bell was one of three from the church,going for the training class on Saturday. " I came here so I could be able to reach more people. We want to save souls. We also do PADS for the homeless women and children. We want to reach out to more using Childrens' Hunger Fund.
Bell adds; " I've witnessed hunger, I've witnessed homelessness, there is a lot of this in America, it's really sad. We want to be able to feed the children and share the Gospel."
Children's Hunger Fund is looking for volunteers to help wrap 40,000 toys that will be given to area churches and organizations that will be distributed to needy children. Toy Wrap days are Nov. 17th and Dec. 1rst from 9am - noon. Location is at the CHF warehouse located at 17451 Palmer Blvd. in Homewood. You do need to register by going to ChildrensHungerFund.org/ToyWrap. To contact Children's Hunger Fund, you may reach them at 708-799-5822.