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Ephesus Church – A Food Pantry Distributing Food and Love

Ephesus Church – A Food Pantry Distributing Food and Love

In the Midst of the Pandemic, One Food Pantry Came Together to Focus on the Most Vulnerable

Around three years ago, Diva Jones Moses joined Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Partner Agency Ephesus Church as its Community Service Director, running everyday operations for homeless services, as well as managing the organization’s food pantry. Little did she know that she would join in a crucial time where the program would expand greatly.

Located in South Los Angeles, in the corners of Western Avenue and West 70th Street, Ephesus Church helped its community with basic services before the pandemic, including hot meals, food distribution, hot showers and clean clothes for the homeless community.

When the pandemic hit, Jones Moses and Ephesus Church noticed that there was an increase in seniors in need, not only of food assistance but as well as food delivery when the stay-at-home order went into effect for that community.

In 2020 alone, the Food Bank’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) distributed over 311,000 Senior Nutrition food kits, serving almost 28,000 seniors every month at 146 sites throughout the County.

“We are now serving a lot of seniors, so the Food Bank was able to say, ‘Hey, how can we help you serve more seniors or the senior community?’ Jones Moses said.

“We have a couple of people that come and pick up for the elderly that cannot come due to the pandemic,” she added.

A Community to the Rescue

Like the Food Bank and many of its partner agencies, Ephesus Church relies on unpaid volunteers and the generosity of the community for its daily operations. It’s thanks to people like Community Advocate Reba Stevens that Ephesus is able to serve its senior community to the best of its ability.

Stevens volunteers to pick up boxes of food and other goods and personally delivers them to seniors in need throughout the community. Even though many are very grateful to receive the boxes of food that will help them get by, they are even more grateful for Stevens as she makes them feel cared for.

“I’m saddened to say that many of our seniors don’t have family or loved ones to take care of them,” Stevens said. “We’re providing meals to them by delivery, and this allows an opportunity for people like myself to create a connection. “The consistency that goes on here at Ephesus Church with the senior boxes that we deliver to the community, along with other goods, allows the seniors in our community to experience, I want to say ‘love,’ and not feeling forgotten,” she added.

Dena Elridge hears firsthand the struggles that many seniors face. As the Residence Services Coordinator for the Salvation Army, Elridge works with senior homes to help provide assistance to residents in need of housing, financial assistance, and food assistance.

Many seniors are forced to choose between buying food and paying other essential needs like medication, utilities and rent. Coming to Ephesus Church is one of her monthly tasks, helping pick up food for seniors who can’t make it themselves.

Open to All

While things may seem to be getting back to normal, the financial effects of the pandemic are still impacting residents of all walks of life. A rise in everyday essentials like food, gas, and rent is putting pressure on the budgets of many families.

Jones Moses recalls a mother and her daughter in the community attending their food distributions. The family was there to pick up food not just for themselves, but for their neighbors in need that may be too shy or proud to ask for help. The family returned on a day when there wasn’t a distribution scheduled, but they stopped by just to let Jones Moses and her crew know how grateful they were for their services.

“You don’t know the impact you’re having in the community,” she said. “We get calls all the time of people calling and asking if we have food. We are here to serve the community.”

Before the pandemic, the Food Bank served over 300,000 clients per month. Since the pandemic began, both Ephesus and the Food Bank are seeing their numbers triple. It’s thanks to the generosity of our community that the Food Bank can help support programs like the one at Ephesus Church. If you are in a position to do so, please donate.

Together, #WeFeedLA

If you are able to, please continue supporting the LA Regional Food Bank because your contribution will go toward food assistance programs that can make a positive difference to many other food-insecure families of Los Angeles County. 

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Ephesus Church – A Food Pantry Distributing Food and Love

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