Hope for Hunger Food Bank

Thanksgiving & Receiving | Charles’ Story

Your support helped this faithful volunteer when he needed it most.

Loving his neighbor always came easily to Charles. He spent much of his time in California helping people out at church or the local food bank. But when rent in Long Beach started to outpace his income, he knew he couldn’t stay.

“I kept telling myself that the Lord was going to make a way for me,” says Charles.

He and his wife quickly found a new home here in Phoenix. Soon after, he picked up a steady job as a Security Guard at the Phoenix Convention Center. God even directed his car past Hope for Hunger Food Bank, to get him back to what he loved doing the most. Charles signed up to volunteer immediately.

But God had another reason to make this connection. Charles never imagined that the place he was helping would someday help him.

“I’ve been here every day at 6am for almost four years,” says Charles with a smile. “Serving the Lord keeps me coming back every day.”

Most mornings you can find Charles directing traffic in the parking lot of Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank, keeping the line moving and the food flowing. But over the past four years, he’s lent a hand in all areas of the food bank – and had some incredible moments.

“I’ll never forget the lady who came in here and she had 8 or 9 kids. She broke down crying when she saw how much food she was getting. We all surrounded her in prayer. When it was over, she said, ‘I needed that!’ She was so grateful because she didn’t know where she was going to get food.”

It’s an experience he’s seen time and time again.

“You don’t know what a person is going through when they come here. They can be mad at the world and you give them a cart and tell them, ‘The Lord is going to make it better for you.’ And they look at you and you can tell He’s already in there making a difference.”

It’s a promise that Charles has had to hold on to this year. When COVID made headlines in March, conventions and businesses of all types shut their doors across the country – and that’s bad news for a security guard.

Charles not only lost his job; he lost his industry.

Weeks of job-hunting turned into months. Savings ran dry. Charles suddenly found himself in the shoes of the countless families he served here at Hope for Hunger.

“I adjusted my shopping list accordingly to keep us fed, but Hope for Hunger was there when I needed it.

Like thousands of other families every month, Charles had access to food when he needed it most, thanks to you.

This year serves as a stark reminder that hunger can strike any one of us, especially during a pandemic. Countless individuals and parents have been blindsided, never thinking in a million years they would be struggling to put food on the table. It will be a long time before families fully recover – they need help now more than ever!

It’s your prayers and strong support that are keeping families fed, making ends meet and keeping countless men, women children off the streets this season. And while the same is true for Charles, we’re sad to report that he still hasn’t found employment. Unfortunately, we’ve lost the service of this much-loved and faithful volunteer as he headed back to Mississippi last month to work on his family’s farm.

As sad as we are to see him go, we know that God will continue to make a way for him. On behalf of all of us at Hope for Hunger, we’ll miss you Charles!

“I love coming here, greeting people, talking to people, giving them hope. It’s like a family. This place is a blessing for anybody.”