Every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, the Armidale Seventh-day Adventist Church is a flurry of activity. Wednesday is the official set up day for their weekly Food Blessings ministry. This is no small task, setting up what appears to be a mini corner store, with isles of packaged foods stacked on shelves ready to share on Thursday. But this is not your ordinary corner store. The workers are all volunteers from the church and from the community. The food is heavily discounted with a free bag of fruit and vegetables, also a loaf of bread for every customer. Thursday at 1pm the doors of the shop are open, and there are often lines of people from all walks of life eager to purchase their trolley full of ‘Food Blessings’.
Since opening in September 2017, there have been many lives touched by this ministry. It has helped farmers struggling under the personal and financial burden of drought, victims and fire- fighters of the NSW 2019 bushfires, many Ezidi refugees from Iraq who have been settled in Armidale, as well as pensioners, students, people with disabilities and their carers within the area. The challenge of the COVID-19 crisis this year has also given Food Blessings the opportunity to provide pre-packaged hampers to those more vulnerable because of health or age.
The church prayer team meets every morning, at 6am, to pray for Food Blessings and other church ministries and have seen God bless. The Food Blessings team also prayerfully seek to extend their reach further and are continually looking for other ways to support their community physically, emotionally and spiritually. They are excited to see what God will continue to do!