CIU students minister to local community through food drive
By Naomi Balk
CIU Student Writer
“Is this for real? You sure this is free?”
This was the response of a Monticello Road resident who received one of 266 bags of groceries from CIU’s Student Mission Connection (SMC) as the group reached out to the local community.
SMC set up a tent, table and a sign that said “free groceries” just down Monticello Road from CIU on property recently purchased by the university. SMC President Jacob Lester said the goal was to love the community and show Christ through meeting a physical need.
“I was told, that close to 90 percent of the people on Monticello Road fall below the poverty line,” Lester said. “We wanted to share the love of Christ and fulfill the need.”
“It’s not about CIU or SMC. It’s about Christ,” added SMC Vice President Emily Reims.
Lester’s vision for SMC is “to be community building” with an emphasis on “community outreach.”
Volunteers and members of the SMC team beamed as they connected with people who stopped and got a bag of food.
“One thing I loved is that we were just giving,” Reims said. “I think there is so much power in what we can give, and I think that it really does make people step back and ask why.”
In addition to receiving a bag of groceries and a New Testament, grocery recipients also had an offer for prayer.
“It is so cool to love people not just by giving away food,” said SMC Prayer Coordinator Brittany Bailey. “By also praying for them, we were able to show them the gospel in a community that really needs it.”
SMC’s leadership hopes to partner with local churches in future ministry such as a prayer tent and a prayer walk.
Among those on hand for the event was CIU President Dr. Mark Smith who was thrilled to see the students so involved in the community.
“This is what I live for (in my career),” Smith said. “To see students sharing Christ and engaged in the community.”
The SMC team was encouraged to see Smith’s support and encouraged by the 1,000 canned goods CIU students and faculty donated to make the event a success.
Excitement is building on the CIU campus with a dramatic increase in enrollment and on-campus expansion including the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business & IT Center. Information on enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.