The Modern Day Loaves and Fish Story
By: Karen Carlton
Savoring Each Moment
The day began like any typical school day – only it wasn’t typical and we were all on Zoom for staff worship instead of in my office. We talked through the different needs of our school families and often those needs centered around not enough income, families struggling to pay their bills, and needing help with groceries.
Different staff members volunteered to buy groceries and deliver them to several school families who were really struggling. We also started praying for a possible way to distribute food to our families.
A few days later, while compiling a resource list of local organizations that our families could benefit from, we connected with a man from a local non-profit food distribution program. I had been given his number as a food bank that families could get food from, but instead, he was the supplier of eleven local food banks. He said he would be happy to have us come and pick up food and distribute it to our school families. He had lots of bread and some other things that we could collect and distribute.
A small group of school staff members went to the warehouse and packed up hundreds of loaves of bread and other dry goods along with some fresh veggies and yogurt. Richard, the director, began to tell us his story. He had been in jail and on drugs a few years before. His life was a mess. He was on a most wanted list and had no future ahead of him.
Somewhere along the line, he was introduced to God and his life had turned full-circle. Now he works a full-time job and volunteers as the program director to help hundreds of people in our local area who are in need of food.
After loading up all the food, we quickly sent out an email to our school families and the next morning passed out boxes of food to 35 families.
We continued to pray for this opportunity, not know if it would happen again.
The following week we picked up 75 sets of boxes of produce and dairy along with many more loaves of bread and fresh veggies. Our industrial fridge had gone out that morning, so we were uncertain what we would do with any extra boxes.
I was reminded of the Bible story of the little boy with his lunch. He had a small lunch but was willing to share it. When Jesus took the lunch and blessed it, it no longer contained 2 barley loaves and 5 fish, but kept multiplying until everyone was satisfied and there was food left over.
These boxes of food went to 75 families within 2 hours! When the last car came in, we gave them the last box of food. God had provided just enough for the need of the day.
Last week, the organization called us and asked if we could please take some more boxes. We loaded up 334 boxes and drove to different neighborhoods where we have students who live in lower income areas. As we passed out the boxes to the people in these neighborhoods, we experienced the truism that “it is more blessed to give than to receive!”
Yesterday was our fourth opportunity to see the food multiply. Two days ago, I received another call from the organization asking if we could please take more boxes. They are receiving food twice a week and it is all perishable. They have to distribute the food to make room for the next load. So I started contacted some local churches in nearby communities and we lined up a distribution. I was told that we could pick up 500 boxes, so I started making my list and sending out emails.
Yesterday morning, we had request for nearly 500 boxes of food, we had a crew of volunteers and we had the date and time set.
Throughout the morning, people kept texting me telling me they could take more than they had originally requested. I added these numbers to my list and began to pray that God would multiply our loaves and fishes once again so that we would have enough for the needs that were presented.
Silly me, to think that I need to tell God that we might have a bigger need. He already knew exactly what we would need.
When we met with the director and told him what we were working on to try to help them distribute the food, he told us we could take 1000 boxes! Again, I started to worry. What are we going to do with 500 extra boxes?
Perhaps that’s what faith is all about. Trusting that God has the right answer for the situation before we even ask. Knowing that God will take care of our needs!
Again, we prayed as we began the distribution and as each church left with a load of boxes, we prayed over those boxes of food and the blessing they would bring to each family in need.
When the day ended and we loaded up the last trailer, we had packed 1200 boxes of food into our vehicles! As the last local church food pantry truck was filled, we still had a trailed with about 200 boxes of food on it. But then the pastor told he had just received a call and they could take 200 more boxes!
We didn’t have 12 baskets full of fish and bread left. We had just enough! But that enough was just the perfect amount for the needs that we had. God knew we didn’t need leftovers, He knew we needed more than 2 loaves and 500 fish. And so instead of 12 baskets of leftovers, we had 1200 boxes of food!
What will the future hold for us? We don’t know, but we do know that God holds our future and He is more than capable to supply our needs and bless us along the way!
Don’t stop praying for God to multiply the loaves and fishes in your life so that you can bless others!