Ade and Lisa Agbalaya are pillars in and beloved members of the Turning Point Church. Below is the story of the ministry that grew out of their and other’s collaboration with Trader Joe’s and Manna Pantry. Few things inspire me more than when members listen to the voice of God and, on their own initiative, make our community of faith better. They lead and serve without needing to be asked because they are stakeholders, not spectators. Our “You’re It” ministries are alive and well!
Last year, I (Lisa) happened to be in Trader Joe’s shopping and I started a conversation with one of the employees. She was irritated because a company who was picking up food from them was throwing it in the trash. She mentioned she had to find someone else. Not being a person who passes up an opportunity, I immediately told her about Manna Pantry.
Since then we have gone from 1 store pick up to 3 pick-ups per weekend. The dollar amount of food they donate averages to be about $1,500.00 per pick up and $4000.00 – $4,500.00) per weekend.
An average pick up looks like this:
- 8am – Go to ( 1 pick up on Saturday @ Laurel Canyon & 2 on Sunday – 1 @ Laurel Canyon & 1 @ Toluca Lake Location)
- Arrive back in Burbank to sort – meat, bread, fresh produce, desserts, eggs, juices & everything else they sell (protein powder, lotions etc). We load it into crates, which takes roughly 2-3 hours
- Families arrive on Saturday 10am-11am to shop and the remainder is packed and stored until Sunday Morning
- Sunday Morning @ 8:30am (pick up, sort and load into truck) until 10am
- Arrive at our worship service at 11am
- Leave Service at the start of last song
- Unload 8-10 boxes and crates into 2 rows in parking structure for families to shop
- Clean up & trash haul away – 3 hours
We provide food for 25-30 families per week in the Turning Point. Sean and Dana O’Connor serve 15-20 families in the Central Region Church that meets in Glendale.
I can honestly say it’s the most amazing feeling knowing that God decided to allow us to serve his people. When you find yourself serving people who are just like you, it’s very humbling. We have gotten to see and experience firsthand pride and embarrassment become humility and gratitude. Struggle makes you connect with people in a way that I never thought possible.