When the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority offered to donate a 40-foot city bus to Renewed Hope Food Pantry, we knew the answer had to be yes. We had been praying that God would help us do more, show more of His love, as we see the need for food increasing.
With AdventHealth Shawnee Mission and Adventist Community Services as major sponsors, we were able to convert the bus to a food pantry on wheels and go to neighborhoods where the need for food assistance is high. On the Hope Bus, people can choose what they need from fresh vegetables and fruits and a variety of other nutritious food, including proteins and grains in boxed meals, canned goods and more.
Located in Overland Park, Kansas, Renewed Hope serves the greater Kansas City area. With the Hope Bus, we are moving from curbside at our home location at the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church in Overland Park to roadside food assistance throughout the Kansas City metro area. We are reaching the entire KC metro, working with volunteers from Adventist churches across the city as an Adventist Community Services team. The Hope Bus is an asset for all churches in the KC area, covering the Kansas-Nebraska Conference, the Central States Conference, and the Iowa-Missouri Conference.
The first stop for the Hope Bus when it became operational last February was the Sion Seventh-day Adventist Church in Olathe, Kansas. Volunteers served 40 families with 1,200 pounds of food. The Hope Bus has also served at the Olathe New Life Community Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Olathe; Washington Square Park and Lotus Care House and Cloverleaf Apartments in Kansas City, Missouri; the Argentine neighborhood at Security Bank in Kansas City, Kansas; and Hillcrest Apartments partnering with AdventHealth during a Kids Camp nutrition night for refugees in Kansas City, Kansas.
Before receiving the bus, Renewed Hope had already stepped up to serve in a bigger way during the pandemic, expanding from 28,624 people visits in 2019 to 131,623 people visits in 2020. Volunteers distributed 605,384 pounds of food in 2019 and increased this to about 1.9 million pounds of food in 2020 and again in 2021.
This year, we continue to see a high number of people coming to Renewed Hope for food assistance, with new people signing up every week. The growth of Renewed Hope has been a response to prayer. We pray that wherever the food goes, God’s Holy Spirit will also go. We pray that everyone will truly taste and see that the Lord is good. Our volunteers want to make an impact for good by helping to solve the problem of food insecurity—lack of reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. While doing this, we want to show the love of God.
From Good to Great
Our relationship with the bus donors, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, started in the summer of 2021 during a hotel initiative for people experiencing homelessness. The city of Kansas City, Missouri, housed people facing homelessness for 90 days, and Renewed Hope led a team of local pantries and communities to get food to these guests in 12 different hotels in the metro area.
Drivers for KCATA met us at Harvesters, our local food bank, and we loaded up the city bus to take food to a hotel hub near Worlds of Fun. From April through August, Renewed Hope, along with several Adventist churches and organizations in the KC metro, shared 33,331 pounds of food with people who are homeless, living on the streets, in camps, and temporarily housed in hotels. This provided about 27,775 meals.
This fall, we are continuing to find new places for the Hope Bus to serve people facing hunger, such as in church parking lots, health clinics, libraries, community centers, local businesses, along the side of the road by city parks—anywhere people face hunger.
When our neighborhoods, communities, cities and states face a crisis and are missing access to nutritious food, we want to do more to show the love of God. This is the reason we exist. There is joy in overcoming evil with good (Rom. 12:21) and watching to see what God will do when we dream of new ways to serve Him and pray for resources to make it happen.
In John chapter 1, Nathaniel exclaims to Jesus ‘You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Nathaniel’s faith was boosted when Jesus told Nathaniel he saw him under the fig tree. Jesus also told Nathaniel, you will see greater things than this. This is a message for us today. We are serving Jesus, the King of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Savior of mankind.
The food that comes every week is a miracle. The Hope Bus is a miracle. Every volunteer and donation is a miracle. We invite you to join us at Renewed Hope and experience these miracles with us. Pray with us, volunteer with us, and donate funds if you can. Let’s keep serving the Lord and making an impact for good in our community because like Nathaniel, we are going to see even greater things.
You Can Help
Renewed Hope always needs volunteers and food donations and financial resources to keep serving. If you are in the KC area and have a CDL license, at least Class B with air brake endorsement, we invite you to come drive the bus. The more drivers, the more places we can go! To join our prayer call once a week or volunteer, send an email to volunteer@RHFP.org To contribute financially, you can donate online here: tinyURL.com/give2RHFP
Also, if you want to see the Hope Bus in action, watch this news report from KC 41 Action News:
Karen Whitson is the director of Renewed Hope Food Pantry.