It will be a beehive of activity with volunteers gathering up boxes of food and loading them into their cars. They’re part of a team of about 75 volunteers who deliver the food and support twice a month to about 65 families who need the help. They’re part of the Tri-Valley Seek and Save, a faith-based non-profit, that was formed 7 ½ years ago by Roland and Pam Ellingsen and a small team. Initially, it was their life group (a small group that gathers for Bible study and fellowship) that handled the serving, but it rapidly grew beyond that.
Now the group has a room in Cornerstone dedicated to its work with a freezer, food storage and storage for other things such as clothing and some household items.
Roland Ellingsen explained that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at the heart of everything they do. Volunteers deliver food and connect with the recipients for prayer and fellowship. Sharing the Gospel undergirds all of the practical support and that’s significant. The leaders and volunteers are all missionaries reaching out and serving the community. They’ve seen many recipients of their generosity become missionaries and spread the Gospel and serve others.
Roland explained a tipping point when he was advocating to the board to hire a fundraiser. During prayer, Jesus said rely on him to be the “fundraiser.” Jesus, through other donors and partners, has taken care of the ministry’s needs ever since. Money to pay rent, utility bills and other expenses has been ample as has food and other goods.
Ellingsen moved into a full-time role Jan. 1 after some supportive families committed to funding his position with additional investment beyond what they were contributing. Previously he was working two jobs plus leading the ministry. The position was funded in a month, very quickly by missionary standards where six months is quick and more often it’s 12-18 months.
They struck an early partnership with Trader Joe’s for food and that has grown into a variety partnerships. There’s now 14 other churches involved as well as four auto repair shops and two tow companies that provide discounted or free services.
“What a woman needs is shelter, reliable transportation, a job and a cell phone,” he said. Seek and Save and its partners help in each area.
The missionaries and recipient families gather monthly for fellowship, baptisms, food and a message at the Cerro Ranch outside of Livermore. They also hold Bible studies and are growing the programs to serve their growing community as a parachurch organization centered in the Gospel.
When I was there in January it was delightful to see the missionaries happily gathering boxes of food and preparing to deliver it and visit with the recipients. They truly were being the hands and feet of Jesus.