Hungry? Feeling ignored?
This is what over 300 people in North Bay are feeling too. According to a 2020 survey by the District Social Services Administration Boards, homelessness in North Bay had jumped from 189 in 2018, to 300 by October 2020.
There are Shelters and Soup Kitchens, and in between – literally – is First Baptist Church, North Bay. Most property owners ask homeless people to keep moving, leaving them feeling unwanted and neglected. FBC decided they would welcome people spending time on their property.
Since receiving a CBOQ grant in May 2022, until September of the same year, 10 volunteers hosted a BBQ each Thursday for the homeless in the community. They offered food, beverages, materials for reading, prayer, and a short devotional. One man was so grateful that he offered to cut the grass, and others are sure to help clean up and keep the property tidy. Volunteers have been able to offer support in a variety of ways.
Now that the weather is colder, the meal they offer is a Saturday bagged lunch. No other organization in the city is offering lunch on Saturdays so this switch made sense. Small meals can have a big impact. Each week 40-80 people receive the meal. Over the last several months, 3 people have also shared that they have received Jesus as their Saviour.
FBC is encouraged that 2 other churches are helping by offering donations of food, money, and time. They are equally committed to sharing the Gospel message and caring for the homeless in North Bay.
Stephanie from FBC, puts it this way “Doing this for others and knowing Jesus is being honoured is the greatest joy one can attain.” She offers these verses as encouragement for this journey:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”