“I was hungry…”

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

There were five us, adults and youth, in the car that drove to El Buen Pastor to experience our Episcopal brothers’ and sisters’ monthly food distribution on Durham’s East side.  We arrived in the church’s basement-level Parish Hall just as they were praying for the morning’s work and for the people who would receive food (at least, I think that’s what they prayed for, but I don’t speak Spanish so I can’t say for sure).  There were about twenty of them, and half of them were high school youth.  We felt out of place – like intruders.  But they had been expecting us, graciously greeted us, and then mixed us in among them for different tasks.  Slowly but surely, we started to chat-it-up with each other: “Where do you go to school?” “Where’s your church?” “You do this every month?!”  And then a truck-load of food arrived: restaurant leftovers, grocery leftovers, and gleaned produce from farm fields. We sorted the food: fruit, vegetables, greens, staples. And then for the next hour a steady flow of folks from Durham’s East side passed through the line, each leaving with two heaping armfuls (and more!) of food.  And there was enough for everyone, and some left over still!  By the time clean-up started, we were a bit less timid and just scrubbed, carried, and stacked till the job was done.  And finally a quick debrief with our host: “How many families come through the line each month?” “What surprised you about this morning?” “When can we come back?” “Will we see you again next month?” Good question: I sure hope we come back, for our brothers and sisters of El Buen Pastor are helping us learn what it looks like to feed the hungry Christ (Matthew 25:35).  Thanks be to God!

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