New Jersey church planters partner to share food and Christ

Hunger takes on different forms — emotional, spiritual, physical — each bringing its own ache.

The recent pandemic has caused every type of hunger in communities across North America.


During this season of corporate suffering, we’re reminded of our need for one another. We understand — through experiential knowledge — that we can do more together than apart; and that’s what a group of Send Network church planters in New Jersey realized when they saw growing needs in the Latino community there.

“Around 40% of the New Jersey population is Latino. Since the pandemic, many of them are struggling to provide for basic needs, like food,” said Vijay Allampalli, Send Network’s New York church planting catalyst.

Five church planters in New Jersey — Samuel Ventura, Fred Castro, Diego Mendieta, Sergio Quevedo and Wilson Tuero — partnered with local Latino churches to help put together boxes of food for Latino families in their community.

Church planters Fred Castro, Samuel Ventura and Jose Cortez begin loading boxes of food into the truck to deliver to families.

“We started the food distribution through a Sending Church — CrossPoint Church in Farmingdale, New Jersey. We didn’t have any resources to begin with, but the Lord has provided. We’ve collected nonperishable food, we bought some food, and family members of CrossPoint contributed a lot of food,” explained Allampalli.

Their simple efforts have produced expanding results.

“At first, we were packing 40-50 boxes, and now we’re giving away 400 boxes of food a day. Food distribution started in Farmingdale and has expanded to other parts of the state, like Elizabeth and Rahway, among other Hispanic networks. Now we have also created a packing and distribution center at Samuel Ventura’s church, Iglesia Bautista Ebenezer.”


Each box is carefully packaged (following CDC guidelines) with physical and spiritual nourishment.

“Every box contains food and Spanish-language literature explaining the gospel. Whenever our pastors deliver the boxes and meet families, they share the hope of the gospel,” Allampalli explained.

As the pastors deliver much-needed food to families, they get the pleasure of meeting emotional and spiritual needs as well. In addition to providing food, they share the hope of Christ and a brief in-person conversation — a rarity these days that is good for the soul, nonetheless.

Everyone is experiencing their own forms of hunger, and there’s no lack of need in every community. If you’re wondering how you can serve others in your community, consider partnering with local churches to multiply your efforts.

We’re better together.

Published April 29, 2020