Trick-or-Treating: A Waning Tradition?
Fall is in the air. Costumes, spooky decor, and candy assortments are now fully enveloping aisles of the local grocery store in anticipation of Halloween. A huge money maker, Halloween-related sales accounted for more than $10 billion in 2021. Yet, while Halloween is known for kids dressing up in costumes and visiting homes of neighbors with expectation to receive, the tradition of trick-or-treating has declined in recent years. Fewer people are giving out candy, and fewer parents feel it’s safe to consume items doled out by strangers.
Safe Alternatives to Halloween Trick-or-Treating
While the nostalgia of trick-or-treating is appealing, many parents have sought alternatives for health and safety. Churches and communities now hold Trunk or Treats, Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festival events. Some neighborhoods create block parties or organize trick-or-treating among themselves. Some families these days even opt to just stay in for movie and game nights. But what if we, as Christ followers, reframed the idea of Halloween to be an opportunity to give, rather than to receive?
Halloween Fun with Purpose
What if parents had an opportunity to embrace all the fun of costumes and togetherness, while teaching the biblical truth that it is “more blessed to give than to receive?” What if, rather than pouring into the billion dollar industry of candy and decorations, we invested in something more long-lasting and meaningful—putting our money and energy where our values are? This Halloween, Feed the Need Missions is giving families an opportunity to do just that.
Feed the Need Missions Site are Open This Halloween
Feed the Need Missions is a non-profit hunger relief organization that has been feeding communities physically and spiritually for over a decade. Every week, rain or shine, we roll into communities across Texas, prepare hot meals, and share the message of Jesus with anyone who shows up. There is no cost for the meal, and no requirement to receive. We meet tangible and urgent needs, we pray for those who are lonely, and we teach people about the values of the Bible. And it is absolutely transforming lives and communities.
This Halloween takes place on Monday October 31. We invite you to join us at one of our three Monday site locations gatherings. Dress up in costume and come ready to have safe, and meaningful fun together as you serve, give, and shine the light of Christ. We’ll even fill those treat bags with a little candy. Our friendly Bastrop South, La Grange and Stony Point volunteer team will greet you and help you find a job just right for your family. Visit our locations page for details about each site meeting. We hope to see you—it would be a real treat!
But the bigger provision is for the emotional, spiritual, and community poverty. Each week, we have people who come who have recently moved into the area. They need the community that is provided when they come and talk with us. Each week we pray with those who are facing emotional trials and they need the love that soothes their emotions. We display the love of Jesus in every interaction, and we pray with each person who comes. We even get to introduce some to Jesus for the first time and some come to accept Jesus through their interactions.
Oh, the joy and blessing of praying with and for the guests. To answer their “why” questions—Why do you do this? Why would you come here? Why would people give money for this? Why are you here in the rain, heat, cold? To have the opportunity to pray for each family. To see the changes in the community. The friendships that develop among the volunteers and the guests is amazing! The excitement when someone who hasn’t come for a while comes back. That recognition of their importance is often the only time they get validation of their importance. For some of our guests, Feed the Need Missions provides the only love and acceptance they get.
When It All Comes Full Circle
At Feed the Need Missions, discipleship is at the core of our mission. We do what we do in order to create a guest experience that fosters the building of disciple-making relationships. One of the most exciting things to witness is the real transformation that takes place in lives because of this. Recently, we were able to celebrate with Cynthia, a guest-turned-volunteer, as she came full circle in her journey from receiving discipleship to enabling ministry to others.
Getting to Know You
Cynthia has been a guest at our Smithville Feed the Need Missions site location for years. Her first visits were prompted by a desire to not just know about Jesus, but to really live for Him. At the time, she was struggling to commit fully to the Lord because of brokenness in her past. Painful experiences had caused her to turn inward and had stunted her spiritual growth. Knowing something needed to change, she came to the site looking for answers.
She quickly got to know Jonah Beyer, the president of Feed the Need Missions, and several other volunteers. As the weeks passed, the team intentionally took time to get to know her, to really listen to her story. As they prayed, encouraged, and cared for her, Cynthia became a regular attender.
Step By Step
Each week, she took part in Table Talk discipleship discussions that opened her eyes to the Lord in a powerful new way. After a time, Jonah challenged her to seek more answers through regular church attendance. Ready to take the next step, Cynthia found a church and got very involved. Her growth continued, and her commitment to God grew as she healed and pressed in to the counsel she received at the sites.
Just a few months ago, Jonah and Cynthia reconnected on an evening in Smithville when she drove up to pick up a meal at the site. It was a joy-filled reunion as they talked and reminisced about all the growth that has happened in her life over the years. Jonah, once again, challenged her to take a mother step in faith. He invited her to start serving her community as a site volunteer. Having experienced the value of this ministry as a guest, she said yes.
Change the World
The very next week, Cynthia came to serve. She was nervous and unsure about her new role, because as a guest she had gotten the inside story about many of her fellow guests. She felt a tension about serving people she thought might be taking advantage or guests didn’t have the purest motives.
But once again, the team pointed her to Jesus. He loves and blesses and gives to His children, unconditionally. She was challenged to see and serve as Jesus does—not on the basis of deservedness, but as an act of obedience and in honor of Jesus. A new wave of heart transformation and growth began to unfold within her. As she served, she began to see others just as God had seen her.
Ready to Run
Cynthia’s posture has completely changed since stepping into her volunteer role. She has become so passionate and invested that she recently felt led to supply burgers for the Smithville site meeting. Also, during a recent shortage of the burgers, she timed a trip to visit family in Corpus Christi so that she could gather the needed supplies, stopping at three Walmart locations along her route, just to ensure the site would have supplies for the meeting.
She looks back in awe of the transformation in her life. God is now using her to have a powerful impact on others in the way way that Jonah and other Feed the Need volunteers had on her years ago. She is now a vessel for Christ, meeting needs and helping others lean in to the Lord. Her personal growth and passion are having a contagious impact, bringing down walls. She has come full circle, and is now the one spurring others on to grow and serve.
What is Faithfulness?
What does faithfulness look like? While you could simply Google a definition, we have discovered that the most vibrant definition of this most excellent trait is best understood as it is lived out and witnessed by others. Faithfulness is active.
To grasp it, you have to understand it’s root— faith. The Bible defines faith as “being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, faith begins with trust. A trust in Jesus’ plan for you that surpasses feelings, circumstances and even understanding.
Faith turns in to faithfulness when a person takes that inward heart posture of trust and allows it to saturate and dictate their mindset, their words, their decisions and their attitudes. Within Feed the Need Missions, there are many people that exemplify faithfulness. Our friend Charley is one of them.
Faithful People Deflect from Self
People who are faithful don’t do what they do because they want accolades or attention. In fact, they often downplay their impact and quickly point to the One who has given them this transformational power. Charley is a great example of this.
Charley has been serving with Feed the Need Missions for more than four years. Though he is a model of faithfulness to everyone around him, he has a reluctancy to share. This comes from a place of reverence for Jesus and all that He has done in his life.
When you ask him how and why he got involved at Feed the Need Missions, Charley is quick to deflect from himself. “I wanted to give back something to Jesus since He has given me so much. I wanted to do great things.” He simply does what he does because he is grateful for what Jesus has done for him. “I realize it’s not about me. I need to take a back seat and allow God to do great things through me.”
Charley also highlights the examples of other godly men who instigated his involvement. He recalls that it was an invitation of his pal John Reese that prompted him to get started serving. “Because of my schedule I couldn’t get involved until I was retired. Now I can’t imagine not being involved.”
Faithful People Reflect Jesus
If you were to encounter Charley today, you would know you are loved. Not just by Charley, but also by Jesus. That is the impact he has on others. While Charley may not highlight himself, we can look to what others observe about him to see the impact of his faithfulness. The way those who serve alongside him see him is more powerful than anything he could say about himself. Here are a few fellow volunteers who have personally experienced Charley’s lifestyle of trust.
Allen: Faithfulness is Contagious
“Charley has a quiet demeanor and likes to help people. Because of him, so do I. I learned from him not to give up on people. He is one of a kind and an honest man. He never gave up on me.”
Frank: Faithfulness Embraces Everyone
“We went to Texas Baptist men for a few years together. I was at the church and was power washing one day when a homeless man walked up to me and put his arm around me. I didn’t know how to react and was fearful of what might have happened. Then Charley came up to him. He spoke to this man with a kind and sincere heart. He showed me how to care. He’s the perfect example of a solid Christian man.”
Don: Faithfulness is Care-FULL with People
“Charley and I know each other from Calvary Baptist. I started volunteering up at the church and he always asked me how I was doing. It was his patience that drew me to him. Charley has a real Jesus-focused heart. The way he handles people is a real gift.”
Tommy: Faithfulness Brings Others Along
“When Charley was asked to pull the trailer to the Stony Point site, I decided to go with him and help him at the site. I learned so much about helping others because of Charley. He’s a great man with great faith. He is best brother-in-law I could ever have.”
Faithful People Enable Others
The impact of faithfulness in the lives of others is powerful. It is so important to remember that people are watching. More than our words, people remember how we make them feel. It isn’t the result of just one encounter, but an accumulation of conversations and divine appointments over time. “I’ve realized the Lord was teaching me to allow Him to use others to reach the Gospel. As I’m serving I pray for those in line and for the servers that are reaching them,” he shares.
While faithfulness comes in many forms, what we learn from Charley’s story is that a deep trust in Christ allows us the freedom to let others feel seen and valued. It takes others on with open arms and without fear. It enables and activates others. Ask yourself, what is the cumulative impact you are having on others?
We invite you to come and experience faithfulness first hand. Come on by our Stony Point site any time. Grab a free burger, allow our team of loving volunteers to pray over you, and meet Charley. And, if you dare, take a step in faith and begin to have this kind of impact on others around you as a Feed the Need Missions volunteer. We can’t wait to meet you.
When Feed the Need Missions began serving the Bastrop community more than ten years ago, Allen was among the first guests. To be sure, he was in need of the free hot meal each week. He was living on the streets and had no source of income. But that wasn’t the only thing missing in his life.
Volunteers noticed immediately that Allen was a bit different. A little unfiltered and rough around the edges. He wasn’t always easy to approach, and his appearance and behavior were off-putting to many. It was a challenge for him to connect with people—until a special group of Feed the Need volunteers stepped in.
Leaning In & Digging Deeper
Several men at the South Site, including Charlie Hoffman and Mark Miles, took notice of Allen. They leaned in where so many others had walked away. They overlooked awkwardness and rough speech. They demonstrated compassion and gave him a position and a place on the team. So Allen became a volunteer. Their acceptance filled a desperate need, because it gave them an opportunity to invest time in getting to know Allen and his story.
As the team walked alongside Allen, they learned that his challenging behaviors were connected to an autism diagnosis. They also discovered that Allen had lost his primary caregiver, his mom, several years before. This lack of help in caring for himself and his home was a huge detriment in his life. Not having a stable support system led him to life on the streets. It also made it difficult for him to make friends and articulate his needs. Most people just saw a difficult person, but our volunteers consistently returned to connect with Allen and saw so much more.
Making Connections & Meeting Needs
The volunteers didn’t stop at just understanding his challenges. Their involvement went beyond the one hour weekly site meeting. They joined together to help meet his needs. Initially, they helped with finding shelter, addressing hygiene needs, supplying him with clothing. But they went even further than just the material essentials. These men took Allen to their churches for men’s ministry events. They invited him into their homes for holidays. They became family on and off site.
A Felt Absence
Toward the end of 2021, Allen stopped coming to the site gatherings. Volunteers, who by now had been investing in his life for years, were concerned. They searched. They asked. They worried and prayed. In February, Mark Miles, one of those volunteers, received a phone call from a hospital in Austin. It seemed Allen had become ill and had been hospitalized, which explained his absence.
Mark received the phone call because Allen listed him as an emergency contact. The years of consistent investment had struck a chord with Allen. He knew there was a real relationship there, and that he could count on the Feed the Need team to show up when he was in need.
A Celebrated Return
After months of being away, Mark was able to pick Allen up from his care facility and bring him to the Bastrop South site. The team was overjoyed to see him. Guests and volunteers rallied around him, eager to pray over him. They thanked God for his safety. They asked for complete healing and provision. It was a powerful moment for everyone, and one that truly reflected the love of Christ to the guests still grappling with their faith.
Feed the Need Missions has become more than a source for a meal for Allen. It has become his family. His place to belong. His connection to Jesus. Connections like this don’t’ just happen. They are built on consistent, intentional decisions to lean in to the awkward and difficult. To love sacrificially. To consistently work to build relationships and trust. To keep showing up and showing care. Allen, like so many, had a hunger for more. God met it through Feed the Need Missions volunteers. What needs could God meet through you? We’d love for you to partner with us in caring for our communities.
It’s a late summer afternoon and a line of cars has already started to form. Busy preparations are being made in anticipation of something unusual. A truck and trailer are parked parallel to a very busy road. People begin to arrive and open up the trailer. And as the contents spill forth and excitement begins to build. A very worn grill, some worked tables and chairs, a couple canopies are erected for shade and food prep. Cutting, dicing, chopping… rustling of paper bags and a distinct smell of beef being grilled. Laughter, hugs, excitement and love are on the menu.
A name begins to be murmured. Someone asks, “Is Dana here yet? Where is Dana?” At the other end of the site a regular volunteer is responding “Ask Dana, she will have the answer. She always has the answers!” A random person bicycles by and yells, “Tell Dana hi and thanks for last week! She invited me to come by and I will be here soon.”
‘Who is this Dana?’ I wonder. ‘She is clearly someone with a servant’s heart.’ Little did I know how impactful Dana has been with so many at our LBA Site. Volunteers eagerly cook, assemble and bag not just a burger but a gift. The FREE gift of salvation. One that Dana is overwhelmingly familiar with.
The next generation is often overlooked or marginalized as self-centered and egotistical. What comes to your mind when you think about a 21-year-old young adult? Most are focused on college, careers, friendship and often their future. It is rare to find someone so young with a contrary focus—but Dana is very different. She values those things, but not at the expense of the calling that she has on her life. Dana has been transformed by what was offered to her at a time of need. That answer was found in Jesus. Specifically in the way Jesus served others.That is how Dana has chosen to live her life—through servant leadership.
When Dana arrives at her site, she is quick to make the focus of the evening those she is with. It doesn’t take long to realize that the burger is just an entry point for conversation and action. Jesus says in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all of who you are and love your neighbor as yourself.” When we actively choose to live out the Great Commission, we begin to realize that true satisfaction comes from putting Jesus first and then by accepting the life he offers.
People love and follow Dana not because of what she does for them, but because of who she points them to. So,if you are free on a Thursday evening, consider this an invitation to “come on by!” I can almost guarantee you will be greeted with a smile, a burger and a fantastic young lady who will offer you a priceless gift that leads to a transformed life.
About the Writer:
This article was created by Sean Tangen. Sean serves on staff at Feed the Need Missions as our Program Director. In his role, one of his primary roles is to oversee, train and interact with our site volunteers.
Closing in on the one year anniversary of its kickoff, exciting changes are ahead for the La Grange, Texas Feed the Need Missions site. Beginning January 31, weekly gatherings will take place at the southeast corner of the Fayette County Courthouse Square. The meeting time and day will remain Mondays at 6:30 p.m.
Why a New Location for the La Grange Feed the Need Missions Site?
The La Grange team has experienced incredible participation and growth at the lot near White Rock Park. But the change in location comes in response to a few factors. Certainly the comfort and safety of guests and volunteers in hot summer months is important. “Shade has been an issue at this location,” shares site coordinator Jeremy Finch.
Another consideration in moving is the accessibility of the site to the community at large. “When we started the site, we settled on a spot near a community food pantry,” shares Jeremy. This created convenience and awareness of the site to those in dire need. “The White Rock Park site was not a centralized location, but it was a great starting point. Being here has allowed us time to learn and refine our process, and to get very comfortable with running the site. Now we are really ready to stretch out, and to be in a place that is more central,” shares Jeremy. “We want to reach out more and make it clear that Feed the Need Missions is here to meet physical needs, yes—but also social, emotional and spiritual needs. It really is for everyone.”
La Grange Site to Meet At the Square in La Grange, Texas
Over the last several months, volunteers have been discussing, praying over and visiting potential site locations. While considering options, Jeremy vistited a county judge to discuss the possibility of meeting at the Square. “It was a great conversation he actually granted us permission to meet there,” he shares. “We were still praying about it, asking the Lord to make our next steps clear, when a reporter attending a commissioners court meeting heard about the possible move, and reported it in the paper. We decided that was God answering our prayer; so we made it official. We are very excited about our new home!”
Be sure to visit the Jeremy and the La Grange team beginning Monday, January 31 at the southeast corner of The Square at the Fayette County Courthouse. The physical address is 151 N Washington Street. For more information about the La Grange site, or the Feed the Need Missions organization, visit our website.
One of the most amazing things about of being a part of Feed the Need Missions is watching God’s promises fulfilled.
When we began serving the community 10 years ago, President Jonah Beyer and the team prayed diligently to understand God’s vision for our organization. “I knew from the beginning God wanted Feed the Need Missions to grow and expand its reach – not just in Texas, but around the globe,” Jonah says. In the years since, God has opened doors for growth and connected us to servant leaders who are passionate about feeding people physically and spiritually in their communities.
Today we’re excited to announce a new step in our growth – we’re planning a new site launch in La Grange, Texas!
Meet Jeremy: Our New La Grange Site Coordinator
Jeremy Finch has boldly stepped up to serve the La Grange, Texas community as a site coordinator. A Texas A&M graduate, Jeremy is a mixed animal veterinarian, born and raised in Needville Texas. He lives in La Grange with his wife Amie and their four boys named Walker, Carter, Tanner and Byer.
Jeremy’s pastor at Crosspoint Community Church first introduced him to Feed the Need Missions. “He knew my heart for service and food ministry as a way to present the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Jeremy says. “We are excited to move forward. I am using this ministry launch as a personal lesson in letting God do His work His way through me instead of my tendency to more aggressively try to accomplish things in my own strength.”
We could not be more excited to see Jeremy at the helm. Join us in praying for him, his family and the La Grange community as plans become a reality!
Servant Leadership: Portrait of a Site Coordinator
Feed the Need Missions site coordinators are first and foremost spiritual leaders. The position is a volunteer role, perfect for people who feel strongly about taking the Gospel message outside of the walls of traditional church. They come from different professions and backgrounds, but they share a few key strengths:
- They love interacting with people
- They value faith in action
- They are passionate about discipleship
- They love to lead administratively
Each week, these transformational leaders monitor our site’s weekly achievements, encourage spiritual growth, oversee the mechanics of the site, and assist the team members in carrying out their individual responsibilities. We could not do what we do without them!
Here We Grow: Countdown to Launch Day
Follow our progress as we make preparations for our site in La Grange in January of 2021! While we are still finalizing the details, you can stay updated by checking out our La Grange Site page. There, you can also help support this sight launch through financial contributions.
Volunteer Opportunity: Are YOU Ready for Servant Leadership?
Feed the Need Missions is a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding people physically and spiritually. We provide free weekly meals and spiritual encouragement at eight locations throughout Texas, as well as disaster relief throughout the U.S. If you are ready to take your passion for discipleship out into your community, or if you are interested in learning about what it takes to become a site coordinator, we’d love to schedule a site tour with you. Come see us in action, catch the vision and learn how Feed the Need Missions can bless your community.
The ushering in of fall brings many a sense of joy and thanksgiving. For Debbie and Lewis, our Giddings site leaders, this is no exception. This season has brought special change for them that we are excited to share. The Giddings site is newly reopened with a brand new location and schedule!
“I’m so excited that we are open,” Debbie shared. She shared that she is eager to see the ministry blossom here over the coming weeks. “Once we have the consistency of being there week after week, the neighborhood will be able to trust that we will continue to be there weekly,” she shared. “Since everything is so different, it’s giving everyone a chance to get more familiar with a new way of doing things.”
Come check out the new site this Sunday! Serve with us and stay for a burger. Set up begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. Visit our updated Giddings site page and stay up to date with the latest news and updates!
Our new Feed the Need Giddings Address:
801-899 W Washington Street
Giddings, TX 78942