Pasco Feeds the Homeless

October 25, 2016 | Mary Dengerud-Au

Last autumn, Mike Johns prayed and asked God how he could be closer to Him. God told him to go into Kennewick, Wash., and find a homeless man. 

Johns did just that. He began visiting this man twice a week. Some other homeless men were present at one of the visits, and they told Johns where to find more homeless people.

At some point, Johns began bringing them food. This was the first act in what would come to be known as the Feed the Homeless ministry in the Tri-Cities, Wash., area. 

One day, Johns came to the Riverview Church in Pasco, Wash., to share his story. After the service, Jon Calderon, a member, came up to him and said he would like to help. The two men began bringing food to Peanuts Park, a little concrete area surrounded by bedded flowers in downtown Pasco.

They started out slowly — one or two nights a week. They then recruited more volunteers, allowing the ministry to expand to three, four and now five days a week. They have fed up to 60 people some nights. When possible, they also bring clothing or hygiene kits. Sometimes homeless people will open up to volunteers about things that are going on in their lives, and the volunteers pray for them.

A police officer who saw what they were doing helped them set up a Facebook page, Feed the Homeless Ministry Tri-Cities Washington. This allows them to remind people which days they will be at Peanuts Park and to share stories about the ministry.

God has worked miracles through this ministry. One night, volunteers served soft tacos made with homemade tortillas. The tacos were going quickly. When things slowed down a bit, a volunteer counted eight tortillas left. A couple more people showed up and had four tacos ... but there were still eight tortillas left. When there were only two tortillas left (verified by two volunteers), one more hungry person showed up and requested three tacos. Miraculously, volunteers found three tortillas left.

One day, one of the recipients of food thanked the volunteers for doing what they are doing and told them that they are making a difference in the community. He said he no longer sees people digging in trash cans for something to eat, and people are fighting a lot less because they aren’t starving and irritable.

One day the police came out to visit the ministry volunteers and told them this summer was different: less fighting and fewer problems with the homeless. Local business owners are even saying that there has been less shoplifting of food. The officer said the ministry was making a difference in the community.

Feed the Homeless is working on becoming a nonprofit ministry. In the meantime, the Riverview Church has lent them cupboard space to keep supplies and nonperishable item and given the use of their kitchen to prepare meals. People are also making donations to the Feed the Homeless ministry through the church.