The Miracle of The Food Distribution4 min read

Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 9:13).

In December of 2012, Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph received a call from Feeding America of SW Michigan. They had received a grant for one food truck and offered it for Trinity to try in the St. Joseph Area for one month. We accepted and, on January 24, 2013, Trinity had their first Mobile Food Truck.

“On this particular Thursday,” Debby says, “the temps were -5 degrees. The guests getting their food did not have any gloves on. There was one older woman whose hands were crippled and I gave her my gloves. Then a person came up to me and insisted that I take her gloves.”

There was a terrible blizzard that day. There were several businesses closed and all the schools and colleges closed as well. But the Food Truck arrived at 3:30 to set up so we could serve at 4:00. We had 18 volunteers who braved the weather to help. I had my doubts on whether anyone would come, but Rich, the director of Feeding America of SW Michigan, assured me that if we promoted it—which I did—people would come.  We had 45 people register that day for food.  Now, if it snows, I always think of Rich’s words: “If you promoted the truck, people will come.” And the people are still coming—every month, as they have been for nearly four years.

The numbers keep growing, too. On January 24, 2013, we registered 45 guests in a blizzard. Three years later, 113 guests and 18 newcomers were registered. A record was set in November 2015, with 221 registered guests, adding to the total of 1,684 people registered that year.

The Food Truck is under Trinity, St. Joseph Community Outreach team, but we are very blessed to have the support of other congregations such as Christ, Stevensville; Trinity, Sawyer; Trinity, Glendora; and Salem, Coloma. We are also fortunate to have a local Boys and Girls Club and are currently working with Benton Harbor Schools for the fourth quarter of 2016. We also work with the Benton Harbor Housing Commission and, in Benton Township, the Country View Housing Development.

We have tried a lot of things in these three-plus years of operation. Bringing people indoors into our ministry center was one. The first time we did that, our center was filled with people sharing how God has worked in their lives and singing Gospel songs. Trinity’s outreach team and other volunteers have developed very special relationships with those they serve.

Debby Miskill (L) sits and visits with two guests at the Ministry Center.

I have spent many times listening, laughing, crying, and praying with our guests. Each person comes in with a story: of hunger, of bridge cards cut, or loss of employment. We have had people stop here first who have just been released from the hospital; their car low on gas and prescriptions to fill before the pharmacy closed. The need for food was their main priority—above medicine and gas.

But what really is cool to witness is when our guests become volunteers and help others with things such as carrying the food for those who are elderly, sick, or handicapped. They also help by staying afterwards to clean up the ministry center.

When I think about this outreach ministry, I am reminded of the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus, as there are times we feel like we do not have enough to feed so many people.

I remember one particular day when, even though it was Mobile Food Truck day, I had taken off work confident that our seasoned volunteers would be able to handle it. While out on an errand, I did pass the Ministry Center and saw people lined up down the street. This was even after the doors had been opened and I knew people were already inside. I decided to stop and help out, and what a blessing it was.

Guests at the Ministry Center

That day, God richly blessed everyone there. We had people from our community, including our mailman and his wife, come to help. Men who received food stepped up and helped the elderly and handicapped carry their food. We had two people who had never come before inquire about visiting our church. There was a growing concern from some of our guests and volunteers that there would not be enough food. But, thanks be to God, we had enough to feed everyone—all 144 households. We even had a few squash left over.

What I have learned is that, when Jesus says, “You give them something to eat,” instead of worry we should simply thank God for what He provides.

For more information in regards to the Food Truck or any other of our outreach ministries, you can contact Pastor Michael Roth at or Debby Miskill, Director of Trinity Community Outreach at or by calling 269.983.500.

Photos courtesy of Trinity, St. Joseph


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About the Author

Debby Miskill is the Director of Community Outreach for Trinity, St. Joseph, where she's been a lifelong member. She is also Director of Children's and Women's Ministry. Debby is married to Mike and they have three children and four grandchildren.

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