A Philosophy of Welcome in the Midst of Covid-19

This reflection comes from Rev. Kirk Perucca, Pastor for Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Kansas City, MO.

Staff and volunteers prepping food for distribution (left to right – Niki Krenzel, Orlandra Brown, Nancy Henry and Steve Hudson)

Covenant Presbyterian Church, an urban residential congregation in Kansas City has a mission. We feed people. Period. We serve people in a dignified, caring and just matter. Jesus didn’t ask for two forms of ID, one could be a water bill. Jesus didn’t say, “You’re in the wrong zip code, you need to go to that zip code.” Jesus didn’t say, “Didn’t you come here last week looking for food?” Jesus didn’t say, “You didn’t meet our income requirements.” Jesus just said feed my people. So, we do.

We’re a congregation of 91 members and our pantry is open 10-Noon now, will be back open 9-1 when the pandemic subsides. We feed anyone who comes to the door, and we have monthly drive by pantries to serve all neighbors. In 2020 we served 4,160 households including 7,303 adults, 5,455 children and 861 seniors and 1,169 musicians for a total of 14,788 individuals.

Our philosophy has been to welcome and serve. It’s difficult to be in a situation where one needs help in feeding their family. We sure don’t want to make the experience more difficult by being unfriendly or asking a lot of questions that would indicate our distrust about their need for food. Serve, welcome, care and feed is what we do and we are grateful for our partners. Village Presbyterian Church provides a truckload of food twice a month, Second Presbyterian Church partners with us to feed neighbors, Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church provided funds to upgrade our kitchen to a Commercial Kitchen which will allow us to be creative in adding ways to feed people. Harvesters, our local food bank, has reduced costs and administrative fees which helps us to provide a good quantity of food for each person.

We have volunteers that work with our Church Administrator, Orlandra Brown, to staff the pantry five days a week. Either Steve Hudson or Niki Krenzel are here every day to distribute the food. It’s amazing the quantity of food that goes through our door every day.

As a Matthew 25 Congregation, we address systemic concerns. Through Bread for the World we participate in the annual Offering of Letters, writing letters to our representatives during worship. Our voices matter as we strive to eradicate poverty and hunger.

We’re blessed to be here and to serve. It’s who we are and what we are called to do in the name of Jesus Christ.

The work of the Presbyterian Hunger Program is possible thanks to your gifts to 

One Great Hour of Sharing.

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