The Loaves & Fishes Offering is an annual offering which the Cumberland Presbyterian Church receives from individuals and churches to express gratitude for all that God has done. This year the offering will go to the Me Ama “He Loves Me” After School Program for Venezuelan Refugee Children in Colombia.
According to the United Nations, Venezuela, a country that has historically been a generous host to refugees, is now facing its own displacement crisis. Close to 2.5 million Venezuelans are living in Colombia. While the government has generously offered residency rights, many refugees nevertheless face extreme hardship and have few resources to sustain themselves.
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Armenia, Colombia, has responded to God’s call by accompanying children who are vulnerable because of their complex situation. Many children are left alone at home or taken by their parents to work with them on the streets. The goal of the “He Loves Me” program is to help children achieve academic and long-term life success. Children come to the church, Monday through Friday from 2:00pm to 5:30pm. The director of the program and a volunteer provide help with homework and academic reinforcement, present a daily devotional, and place emphasis on Christian values and the love of God. Sometimes they do not have the resources to eat well so the children are given a nutritious snack to reinforce their diet.
The program began on February 4, 2019, with fourteen Venezuelan children. Today, there are twenty-five children between the ages of six and eleven, with many more families on a waiting list. During the pandemic, the program’s resources were used to send groceries to the children’s homes every month which was very helpful. The parents could not go out to work, making the family’s circumstances difficult.
Through funding from Bill and Kathryn Wood’s children (former missionaries in Armenia) and interest from the Wood endowment this program has been funded. It can be expanded to cover more families if the financial resources are available. The program also wants to provide training to mothers which will allow them to improve their income by creating their own business, and thus realize dignity through economic independence.
Many of our churches will receive the Loaves & Fishes Offering on Thanksgiving Sunday, November 19. Please return the enclosed order form by September 30 to obtain your Loaves & Fishes boxes or email your order form to email@example.com. Additional worship resources are located on our website: cpcmcorg/mmt/loaves/. Thank you for your participation in the Loaves & Fishes effort this year!
This yearly observance takes place during the month of November, and the annual offering is typically received on the Sunday prior Thanksgiving (or some other date appropriate for your congregation). It is generally viewed as a thank offering. The observance is based upon Matthew 14:13-21, Jesus feeding the multitude.