Resplendent in lavender dresses and shirts, the Ivory Coast choir was making such a joyful noise in the white tent along the Tampa Riverwalk that some people couldn’t help but stop to see what the fuss was about.
They were the opening act of a free May Day lunch, “Break Bread with* Tampa, designed to show General Conference participants and members of the public how they can engage in ministry with the poor. The lunch was a prelude to “Partner with* Tampa,” which provides four different volunteer opportunities this week in Tampa.
Also on stage, in addition to the Kamana Family Singers and Amazing Love praise choir, were local organizations working with the poor, such as Metropolitan Ministries and Amazing Love Ministries.
Metropolitan Ministries, led by the Rev. Morris Hintzman, a retired United Methodist minister and chief executive officer, runs programs to “move people to self-sufficiency” including Inside the Box Catering.
Those enjoying the 500 box lunches purchased for the event from Inside the Box were assured that others would have a meal tonight as well.
“All these meals are made by culinary students,” explained Chef Cliff Barsi, who conceived of and oversees the catering business and café. “Every meal purchased (also) will feed a family of four that night.”
More information about how churches and communities can partner on ministry with the poor can be found at www.ministrywith.org.