A Los Angeles megachurch has been able to serve over 300,000 meals to citizens who are now unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic thanks to contributions from Chick-fil-A and rapper Kanye West.
The L.A. Dream Center is a ministry of Angelus Temple, a Pentecostal Megachurch of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Los Angeles, California. Since mid-March, the center has provided 11,000 meals a day in the second-largest school district in the country.
A sizable contribution from Kanye West and 500 sandwiches a day from Chick-fil-A have allowed the Dream Center to feed those severely impacted by COVID-19. Several L.A. Dodgers players have also donated funds toward relief efforts, including the Justin Turner Foundation.
Matthew Barnett, pastor and founder of the L.A. Dream Center, knew something had to be done to help those affected by the shutdown.
“I just knew on a Thursday, when the city was starting to shut down in LA, that by Monday we needed to be on the curb serving people,” Barnett said. “We started with enough reserve for maybe two days, that’s all we had. And we just believed that God would help us along the way.”
The Christian nonprofit organization sprang into action as soon the Los Angeles Unified School District closed on March 13. The Dream Center’s doors are open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. They provide food and other essential supplies.
“It’s crazy. This is 37 straight days in a row, seven days a week, 11 hours every day, 7:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night,” Barnett commented. “Every morning I wake up and stand in the parking lot with our dedicated staff, I am blown away. Day after day, week after week, there is enough food to provide to folks that need it.”
According to official numbers, the unemployment rate of Los Angeles is over 1.3 million. In fact, over half the city’s residents are now without a job.
There has been more than 16,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus in L.A. County alone. A new antibody study has also shown that as many as 442,000 adults in the county had been infected and recovered from the virus without knowing it.
Despite the uncertainty of when life will return to normal in Los Angeles, Pastor Barnett has been blown away by all the support. “It has just been the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen. People are finding a way to give in the midst of their struggle.”
Barnett added, “So many good things are happening. We believe that God is continuing to do it, and we just keep showing up and wondering what miracle is around the corner.”