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Food For Thought

By John Hayden

From isolation, to health, to food insecurity, everyone has faced unexpected challenges over the past year and a half. Sunshine Cathedral, known for aiding anyone in need, is helping another organization help others. That organization is The Salvation Army.

“People know The Salvation Army, they get a lot of people coming by there looking for food,” Rev. Dr. Anne Atwell told OutClique. “I saw the press release they sent to a number of folks saying [their] shelves are pretty much bare, [they] don’t have much of anything and there’s a huge need.”

As Sunshine Cathedral’s Minister of Connections, Anne reached out and offered assistance. “I knew that we could do something, we could help in some way. So I offered 100 brown bag lunches to see if that would be helpful to them. They responded almost immediately, ‘yes this is wonderful.’” With a sandwich, crackers, a fruit cup and water, the bag lunches are similar to what the church distributes to people who stop by in person looking for a little help.

“Part of our food sharing ministry [philosophy] is ‘no questions, no judgments,’” she said. And that philosophy was put to a test with this call for help. “There was a little reticence at first because The Salvation Army, the first thing I think of is they tend to be a homophobic organization.” Rev. Anne says the reality of hunger is more important than perceived differences. “My thought is, doing the work we do, need is need. If somebody is hungry I’m going to do what I can to make sure they get something to eat.”

Rev. Anne says the local Salvation Army told her they differ from the national organization in that sexual orientation and status is a non-issue. She hopes this is the start of building a relationship with a group often seen as unaccepting. “It was affirming to us that we could possibly partner with them in other things. It’s baby steps right now. We gave them 100 lunches and we’re going to do that every month.”