Hello, my name is Serenity Coulombe. My husband, Andy, and 4 children operate the Jubilee Food Pantry and Gardens. Thank you for inviting me to share about our special little spot here in Hubbard, OR! I am honored to join you in your celebration of Justice in the Kingdom of God during the month of May.
Our family operates the Jubilee Food Pantry in our home on Baines Boulevard. TODAY we celebrate our 6th year of being open to the community. It is the only thing my youngest child, Luci, knows. I often refer to Luci as, “The food pantry baby”. I think back 6 years ago, on May 25, 2010, and look at myself in wonder; 4 kids at home, attempting to homeschool my oldest and me, and full of passion to love my neighbor.
Andy and I had returned a year before that from traveling in an RV for a year (with our 3 kids at the time), while working with many ministries who touched the margins and reached out to express the love of God. Our hearts and minds were still full of Jesus stories, excitement, friends, conversations and a heart to take what we had learned on the road and put it into action through our home in Hubbard. We wanted to make our lives a demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God, like many folks we had met while traveling.
In the act of faithful passion our family stepped into the world of inviting the stranger in, opening our home to hundreds, if not, thousands of people in need. It was an unusual commitment indeed, and there have been moments when I have questioned our sanity.
Over the years, we have discovered the many realities of sharing our space with people we don’t know and the challenge to parent in the midst of it (Yipes!). Regular hospitality presents an endless opportunity for God to change your heart about who/what is “yours”. Fortunately, Andy and I have been given something amazing, called GRACE.
As we have stumbled often while navigating these waters of hospitality, the powerful vision of beauty, love and forgiveness has called us to keep getting up and diving deeper. By the power of His Spirit, our imaginations have grown and strengthened our faith and holy picture of what the Kingdom looks like.
The Jubilee Food Pantry is not about food distribution or ending hunger, it is about pursuing right relationship with our neighbor and our God.
The King and His kingdom compel us to continue and it gives us joy to be a part of such a beautiful thing. In our driveway, we all stand together, holding hands and pray on Tuesdays before food pantry starts at 4:00pm. It is a beautiful picture of the Kingdom. Small, sweet, different colors, different languages, different smells, bowing our heads to acknowledge God’s goodness, holiness and love in our lives.
The Jubilee Food Pantry is not about food distribution or ending hunger, it is about pursuing right relationship with our neighbor and our God. As our brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” Yes, indeed.
To conclude, my oldest children, Avery (13 yrs.) and Ally (11 yrs.), have so generously granted me, and you, some of their thoughts on what the Jubilee Food Pantry means to them. I have not edited or changed anything. It’s pretty special.
“It has changed the way I react with other people. I have also learned how it helps people when they just get a little bit of food from us, rather than having to buy it at the store. Instead of using that money for food, they can spend it on other necessary items for everyday life.”
“The food pantry has affected my life in many ways. Sometimes I get tired of having people come to our house, but who said I didn’t like all of the good things that happen here? One thing I really love about the food pantry is the Tuesdays that Pastor Craig comes and happily brings us the leftover food (that they ALWAYS have too much of) and demands that we must keep all of it. I also like when we pray as a group when food pantry starts. I don’t usually get to do it though, because I get off the bus after four now. I really do love food pantry and want to be more of it because, community builds in this place. Friendship, love, and thanks take place here in our home.”