Hand 2 Hand

Dear Rose Park,

Yesterday morning I met Barb Kleeves, Diana Beltman, and Amy Lemire at Fair Haven Church in Hudsonville for the annual commissioning service for Hand 2 Hand. It was a beautiful service; one filled with heartwarming stories and convicting testimonies. However, if you aren’t familiar with the ministry, let me briefly fill you in: Hand 2 Hand is essentially a backpack-ministry providing food for the weekend to our local students and families throughout the academic year. It’s a ministry we have faithfully supported with our time, energy, and resources and it’s beginning another year of inspiration, encouragement, and hope.

According to www.feedingamerica.org, 1.3 million people in the state of Michigan struggle with hunger. Of those 1.3 million, some 345,000 are children; in addition, one in six children struggle with hunger. These are staggering statistics and should cause a response not only from our community based agencies but specifically our churches. Our ears should be ringing with echoes of stories like the feeding of the five thousand (Matt Ch. 14), Jesus letting the little children run to Him (Matt Ch. 19), and the Good Samaritan (Luke Ch. 10). When the Church holds our current reality in tension with our biblical understanding, we should be moved to action. Hand 2 Hand is a perfect opportunity for our faith to inspire our actions.

Please remember, you’re not just sending a check or a backpack with snacks and dinners, you’re sending hope, joy, and love. You’re reminding children they are worth investing in. You’re telling struggling parents we see and hear you and we want to help. You’re helping teachers and administrators inspire our students. And you’re doing all of this with the love of Jesus.

This is all to say, I’d encourage us to get involved and allow our faith to inspire action. For some of you, it might mean volunteering to pack bags with food. For others, it might mean praying for our students, families, and teachers as they begin another academic year. For others, it might mean supporting this ministry with your resources and finances. Still for others, it might mean purchasing food or delivering the bags to schools. There are so many areas of need when it comes to children and hunger; at Rose Park, we want to be a part of those whose faith inspires action to bring about joy, encouragement, and hope.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Mark