The Pompano Beach ministry recently celebrated its third anniversary.
Members of the community donate the food, and the ministry volunteers—church members, senior citizens and teenagers who are putting in community service hours in preparation for college applications—prepare the meal.
The aim of the ministry is to offer a helping hand without judgment. Guests of the event include seniors in need, families who may be struggling to make ends meet and homeless people who are down on their luck.
“We bring church to those who don’t normally feel welcomed in the church because of their status,” said Yvonne Womack, an organizer for the weekly event.
The ministry has more than doubled in size since its inception. Womack said that the growth is solely attributed to word of mouth within the community.
“People who come to the event know that they won’t be judged, so then they tell their friends about it,” she said.
“We bring people together who may have had relationships on the street, but no real fellowship, and now they have a strong connection through God.”
The meal, which is served at 2 p.m., is preceded by devotionals, prayers and scripture readings, along with worship music led by volunteer Walt Lyons.
But it doesn’t stop there.
They also hold baptismal ceremonies for those who want to fully commit their lives to Christ.
Many of the Love in Action guests become involved in the church in other ways, as well. Some attend Bible study on Thursday evenings, while others help with the 3:16 chapel service on Sunday afternoons in the Pompano Beach chapel.
Love in Action also provides services for guests that go beyond fellowship and food. Haircuts, available twice a month, are provided by a local volunteer cosmetologist. They can also receive mail through the church or receive assistance with signing up for Medicare.
“We try to go a step beyond just feeding people. We are trying to help them become more self-sufficient,” said Womack.
In the future, the Love in Action ministry hopes to help guests find jobs within the community.
“My favorite part of the ministry is the personal relationships I have made. People I never would have known, I now know their story; and they know that they can trust us,” Womack said.
Everyone is welcome at the weekly event, and the church always welcomes new volunteers.
—Jordan Chronister is a freelance writer based in Tampa.