All Peoples Gathering
Sharing the Gospel by Meeting Needs
"Once people feel supported in their physical needs, the church can extend spiritual and emotional support."
Almost immediately after the Wisconsin state-mandated shut-down in March 2020, food pantries were scrambling to meet the exponential increase in the need for food assistance. In those first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, food pantries were distributing almost 80% more food than before, while managing with fewer volunteers, stringent social distancing, and adhering to other safety protocols.
The food pantry at All Peoples Gathering, a Lutheran church in Milwaukee’s Harambee community, was no different. An outdoor Thanksgiving food basket distribution was made possible with donations from the community and partner churches, along with a partnership with St. Vincent de Paul. A local farm gave the church access to unpicked apples and the bounty was turned into one hundred apple pies, which were included in the food baskets.
About halfway through the Thanksgiving distribution, All Peoples' Neighborhood Minister Tommy Kirk helped a woman who had lost her job and was struggling to make ends meet for her family of six. Along with the meal, Tommy found backpacks and winter gear for her children. While the mom waited in her car, All Peoples' Pastor Lindsey Beukelman was able to bear witness to her tears as well as her joy. “I firmly believe that the physical need is always what presents itself. Once people feel supported in their physical needs, the church can extend spiritual and emotional support—even when that support is unexpected. This is what we are called to do by God; support and transformation wouldn’t happen otherwise,” says Pastor Lindsey.
Through the Neighborhood Minister block grant program and a partnership with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, the Siebert Lutheran Foundation supports meal programs and food pantries at over 30 Lutheran churches in the Milwaukee area.
The work of church-based food pantries is rarely limited to handing out food bags or meals. All Peoples' food distribution on that cold and wet day in November brought joy, created community, and made space for the church to walk alongside people to assure them that they are not alone. As Pastor Lindsey shares, “We want to be attentive to the real hurt that’s happening, but we also want to recognize the way in which God is showing up in this chaos and calling us to a truer sense of ourselves.”
Learn more about All Peoples Gathering.
while Sharing the Gospel
of Jesus Christ
By funding high-performing Lutheran-affiliated schools and other education programs that provide children and youth in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities a path to Christ-centered academic success, empowerment, and hope for themselves and future generations.
as the Hands and Feet
By supporting effective strategies at Lutheran churches and church-affiliated organizations to meet the basic short-term needs of disadvantaged people, to create pathways toward greater self-sufficiency and empowerment for all people.