Local church reaches out to hungry children
The Kingdom Life Cathedral held a special benefit dinner Saturday evening at Shepherd University’s Storer Ballroom to raise money for the Feed the Children program.
The evening featured special musical acts, a silent auction, catered dinner and two guest speakers, Tiffany Lawrence and John Unger II, who are clearly passionate about the reality of childhood hunger.
Apostle Sterling Porter III, who has pastored Kingdom Life for the past 16 years said his church is very involved in community events and loves to participate in the Feed the Children program.
“Our church has a long history of serving the community,” said Porter. “We have an exciting and vibrant ministry of about 400 members and we want to serve people and reach out to the community.”
Although the church has participated in Feed the Children program in the past, this is the first year Kingdom Life has had a dinner to raise the needed funds, which run about 10,00 to feed 400 area families.
The Feed the Children organization is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and delivers a tractor trailer to our area filled with food. One box of non-perishables and 1 box of household goods is delivered per family.
Porter’s church works with the Department of Health and Human Services to pair food with families in the Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties of West Virginia.
The last time they had this event, families came to the Ranson Civic Center to receive their boxes of items and Porter hopes to repeat the process in Dec of this year.
Lawrence, current director of the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, shared some stories of people in poverty in West Virginia with whom she has personally interacted. She also shared startling statistics about the status of poverty in our state.
“The state picture is quite dim,” said Lawrence. “In fact, 21 percent of kids in West Virginia struggle with hunger every day. One hundred and eighteen thousand are eligible for free and reduced lunch, but not all kids are getting to school in time to eat breakfast.”
Nationally, one in five kids doesn’t know where his or her next meal is coming from and approximately 15 million children are in poverty. West Virginia is home to 15 percent of that national number.
West Virginia communities do have programs to help those in need. The backpack program, the lunch bus, the “Feed to Achieve” program and community ministries lend a helping hand, but fall short of reaching everyone.
“The problem occurs in the classroom,” explained Lawrence. “Hungry children struggle to concentrate on their school work and have to take numerous trips to the school nurse due to head aches and stomach aches, which disrupts their school day.”
Lawrence went on to say that if the problem isnt addressed, the cycle of poverty repeats with subsequent generations.
“It’s easy to lose touch with what you’re fighting for if you don’t stay connected with the people you’re fighting for,” said Senator Unger. “It’s important to get involved.”
Senator Unger went on to share a story about his visit to third graders at Berkeley Heights elementary school. While there, a young boy stated that if he could make a new law it would be to have an extra lunch period at school so that he could eat more at school and save food at home for his little brother.
“It dawned on me,” said Senator Unger, “that we spend all this time on educational reform at the state capitol. We change the curriculum. We put more responsibility on our teachers. We try to build better facilities. We provide the best education we can as far as technology. We can do all these things, but if that child is sitting there hungry or worried about their next meal, then they’re not going to retain no matter what we put in front of them.”
Apostle Porter closed the benefit with thanks to all who participated and with a plea to get others involved in this important program.
For those wishing to help, find Kingdom Life Cathedral online at kingdomlifecathedral.org, on Facebook, or by calling 304-725-9442