When Pastor Mike Cambra began working with the San Lorenzo community nearly 27 years ago, he realized that the people who were coming to his ministry didn’t want a hand out, instead they needed a helping hand.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that someone who is homeless is a druggy or alcoholic and that’s not the case,” he said. “They need the support of an organization to help them get to the next level.”
One year ago, Moms Against Poverty began providing food and hygiene donations to El Shaddai Ministries and it was an instant boost in morale.
“The impact is beyond words,” he said. “We’ve been able to reach a lot more people and definitely provide better quality food and products,” said Cambra.
As part of MAP’s Nutrition Outreach Program, organic protein and vegetables are regularly delivered to partner schools and centers to fulfill vital food insecurities facing families in need.
Prior to working with MAP, Cambra says the ministry did receive food donations, however, the items provided for nourishment were either wilted or near expiration and unhealthy.
“If you are receiving donations, the donation itself can either value you or devalue you,” said Cambra.
From spiritual guidance to substance abuse counseling and education assistance, El Shaddai Ministries has a membership of 200 church members and serves a much larger community, primarily migrant farm workers and their families.
“We are in an economically depressed area, so it’s easy to start looking for things to fulfill you and can tear your life apart further.”
Cambra says the pandemic has added a much higher level of stress and anxiety to the community he serves. Knowing that they will receive a food donation from MAP every Friday is a huge relief.
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