Meet Pastor Chad of Mercy Community Church. Pastor Chad started Mercy over 17 years ago, with service as its core mission. Mercy was one of the first sites to receive Concrete Jungle’s produce when we began 12 years ago.
Pastor Chad explains, “Waking up in the morning, coming in, preparing breakfast, and serving it to people who are hungry seems very direct. And it’s not one group of people doing something for another group of people. It’s us, working together to do something. It’s really about building community. We’re all working together to try to care for one another, respect one another, carve out spaces of justice and dignity and peace and wellbeing.”
Mercy is a community church for the unhoused and housed that live along Ponce de Leon Avenue. Mercy provides resources to anyone who need it. While people may come for the food or service, they stay for the community that Mercy fosters.
Each day at Mercy follows a similar pattern: the morning ritual of brewing coffee and lighting the grill. Since COVID hit over two and a half years ago now, Mercy has been doing most of their meals outside. Rain or shine, they set up tents and serve breakfast to people who need it. Then, Mercy opens up their clothing closet where folks can take items they need. Some days the community at Mercy makes art or writes songs or practices yoga together. They have nurses, psychiatrists and caseworkers on site to talk with people. And they share their shelter and resources with the wider community.
Pastor Chad says, “We share the shelter we can give. We don’t have a place where we can just say ‘hey, here’s housing.’ But what do we do with the shelter we’ve got is to create a safe space for people. It’s a creative space where people aren’t being harassed, or they’re not being told, ‘Hey, you can’t be here, you need to move along’.”
Pastor Chad has been involved with Concrete Jungle for a long time. He told us, “I think that’s the thing about Concrete Jungle that is beautiful; I think that’s the thing about Mercy that’s beautiful. It’s like – you just do it. You don’t obsess over ‘Gosh, how are we going to share food?’ You just share it, and then you problem-solve. You can figure it out as you go along. But just do it. If you see an inequity, try to equalize it; try to make things better. And that’s what I love about Concrete Jungle.”
We at CJ are so grateful for our partnership with all the folks at Mercy Community Church. Pastor Chad said it best: “When you’re trying to do something good, it’s great to have other people around helping. When you don’t have that, it’s a little harder to do the good things.”
As we round out another fruitful year, we need your help. You – our community – are critical to CJ’s success. We rely on you to help us harvest the fruits of local trees. And we rely on you to donate the fruits of your own labor, so that we can get more produce to people who need it.
Your donation at the end of the year will support CJ as we draw the map to the future. With your help, we will increase our capacity to meet the nutrition needs of communities experiencing food insecurity.
Will you help us map the way to a fruitier future by making a gift to Concrete Jungle before the year is up? Please make a gift so that we can keep getting delicious, nutritious food to folks who need it: donorbox.org/mapthefruit