This ministry is based on Covenant Life’s recommendation to live out our Vision and Mission to the people of the Bahamas – one community at a time. These areas include Yellow Elder Gardens, and Grand Bahama. Together, we have responded to the call to serve the many needy persons who have been adversely affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, and now the economic crisis that is a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recent interview with Bahamas Feeding Network Executive Director, Philip Smith, we learned that more than “100,000 people in the country are now facing hunger in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Mr. Smith, along with other charitable groups and ministries collecting food parcels from the network, told The Tribune that their organizations have seen an increase in demand for food. “There’s so many people now without a job,” Mr Smith said. “You know the Department of Statistics said that there were 43,000 persons that were affected (by hunger). They did those statistics six years ago and that number, because of Hurricane Dorian, increased tremendously and now this. So those 43,000 is probably at least 100,000 now I could imagine. People that are actually experiencing hunger or food insecurity and so definitely the demand has spiked tremendously.”
The Bahamas Feeding Network cooked and distributed 6,000 meals prior to the pandemic, but has had to stop to adhere to current social distancing protocols. More than 70% of the Bahamas’ GDP is derived directly from the Tourism industry. Since mid-March, all hotels in the country have laid off at least 99% of their work force. This translates into more than 30,000 official unemployment claims to date. Many local economists project an unemployment rate of over 50%, and a return to a normal economy by early 2022. The Bahamas is in a very severe social and economic crisis.
CLPC has been called to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (see Eph. 4:12).
Through this ministry, CLPC will mobilize our members in acts of mercy to the poor and needy around us. We will identify truly needy people and ensure that they are served on a timely basis and with the proper accountability. We encourage our members to grow in their transformational service to those in need, and properly address the various levels of needs found in Matthew 25:34-40:
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’
In Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus tells us that loving God, and loving our neighbor is the two-fold essence of the Law. The dominant question which arises from this foundational truth is, “How do we at CLPC express this love for the Lord and at the same time, for our neighbors?
Some Guiding Principles:
We are Biblically Based: We seek to honor God’s Word in all we do.
CLPC conducts our mercy giving based on the principles, concepts, and truth of God’s Word. “The Word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.” (WSC 2)
We are Holy Spirit-Led: We rely on the Holy Spirit for ability, wisdom, and guidance.
CLPC conducts our ministries in the power of the Holy Spirit, seeking the wisdom of God, using our best efforts, experience, expertise and knowledge.
Partnerships: We seek to serve God with other churches and ministry partners
CLPC will always seek to conduct its ministry of mercy in collaborations with like-minded congregations and agencies whose purposes and objectives are consistent with that of CLPC.
Stewardship: We seek to carefully manage God’s resources.
CLPC conducts this ministry as stewards of the resources that God has provided to us and will operate efficiently, effectively, and with the greatest leverage and with prudence based on biblical guidelines.
People: We believe that all people are made in God’s image.
Therefore, we seek to care for people in need with great dignity and sensitivity. CLPC will conduct this ministry in such a way that every decision, and policy will be made in light of its potential impact on Jesus Christ Himself.
Fruitfulness: We seek to further God’s Kingdom through transformational ministry.
CLPC will conduct this ministry with the goal of producing compassionate and competent members who experience mutual transformation with those whom the Lord has sent to be served. We want to always recognize that evangelism is the chief component in our vision to see lives transformed through the Gospel.
Excellence: We seek to manifest God’s glory in all that we do.
In summary, the objective of CLPC’s Food Ministry is to be an equipping ministry that contributes to the health and growth of the Church. We purpose to conduct this ministry in a manner that is thoroughly Christ-centered, biblical, spiritually mature, practically effective, and appropriately accountable.