It was a Wednesday afternoon in September 2020 when the first 36 food boxes arrived in Poulsbo, Washington. Pastor Gary Fogelquist had brought a few extra boxes from Washington's Auburn City Church distribution site to help with feeding families in Poulsbo.
By 5 p.m. that same day, arrangements with Auburn City Church resulted in 84 boxes for the next week. By 6 p.m., the church board voted to get involved in regular food distribution. By 7 p.m., Poulsbo leaders confirmed with Auburn City Church leaders they would receive weekly food boxes to share.
“God’s timing is so perfect,” says Sandra Facey, Poulsbo member, who greets neighbors as they arrive. “These boxes have reached the community during a time of need.”
Now every Thursday Poulsbo Church members Henry and Kathleen Aus drive to Auburn to pick up a growing number of food boxes to help those who have been affected by the pandemic and resulting economic crisis.
“It always feels good when we are able to do something for others,” says Kevin Erich, Poulsbo Church member. “God uses the food box distribution site to show and share His love.”
The pandemic has opened doors to connect with the community that would not have previously been possible. One distribution day, the mayor saw the free food signs and stopped by to thank the volunteers — and chide them a little for not letting her know about their project because she wanted to help too.
Usually conversations are short, yet other times volunteers field longer inquiries about Adventist beliefs, service times and hope from the Word of God.
Working with Ofa Langi, Auburn City Church pastor, and additional community partners, Poulsbo grew in their USDA food box distribution numbers from 84 to 224 weekly boxes.
Volunteer Judy Hiner hears local residents share comments like “this means a lot to us” and “this really helps us.”
“It feels good that we are reaching out to people,” Hiner says. “This ministry was needed.”
Volunteer Gemma Mercado, who with her daughter waves colorful signs letting people know about the free food boxes, says, “We are a part of meeting the tangible needs of our community. People are encouraged.”
Plus, shares Moriah Mercado, “All the kids were happy to receive snacks that I gave them.”