In addition to the spiritual nourishment in abundance at AIIAS, the campus provides multiple ministries to help those in need within the community and beyond its walls. One of these, a humble project called God’s Food Basket, has served many of AIIAS’s self-supporting students with fresh produce, groceries, rice, and ready to eat food.
Dr. Arceli Rosario, one of the founders and sponsoring faculty of the God’s Food Basket ministry, shares more information about this project and how it has continued to provide throughout and beyond the pandemic season.
Inspired by her mother’s words, “Hunger is a shared experience… The hunger that you feel is the same hunger that others feel,” Rosario understood at a young age that her hunger felt in a given moment was what many felt on a regular and prolonged basis.
When Rosario first arrived as a professor at AIIAS, she was inspired by a number of faculty and students who would buy groceries and cook for self-supporting students who did not have the means to buy food. Influenced by an Andrews University church project called “God’s Abundant Pantry” that served food to those that could not afford to purchase for themselves, Rosario and her students, Evelyn Obo and Girlie Aguilar, felt called to do something similar at AIIAS. On June 8, 2018, God’s Food Basket began.
What started as a family ministry soon involved the wider AIIAS community as the Women’s Ministries joined in collaboration. One of the means to collect resources, baskets are placed at the AIIAS vegetable market every Friday, where community members can drop off fresh food items like fresh fruits and vegetables. Also some AIIAS faculty and students, friends, and friends of friends have continued to support the God’s Food Basket Ministry through cash and in-kind donations.
“God has provided in many amazing ways”, according to Rosario, “every Friday there is always something in the ‘basket’.” One unforgettable miracle was God’s provision a few days before the lockdown in March 2020 when one faculty member informed her that she gave money for God’s Food Basket through the AIIAS Church. When Rosario checked, she was amazed at the amount. Why is this so big? she wondered.
A few days later, the announcement of the lockdown came. Then she understood that it was God’s way of assuring her that God cares. Immediately, with the money, she bought sacks of rice to ensure that there was sufficient supply during the lockdown.
Another experience that Rosario cannot forget was one serving time during the pandemic. She was standing near the rows of food packed in plastic bags. One recipient came. Peering into the bag he whispered, “Oh, Lord, thank you.” Rosario said she had witnessed many expressions of gratitude, but that one stood out.
“My dream is that this program will be replicated in other places. My dream is that in school campuses, nobody should be hungry. My dream is that others can also testify that God’s food basket never ever goes empty,” says Rosario. She notes that alumni who took part in the project have in turn provided similar programs for self-supporting students in their respective countries.
The God’s Food Basket ministry thanks all of the donors for their generosity and prayers. Rosario also thanks the recipients for their joy when sharing their testimonies, saying that the Lord is good, generous, and that His love is amazing.
By: Sharnie Love Zamora
AIIAS Assistant for Institutional Writing