LAYTON — Several churches in Davis County have forged a special bond, despite differing religious beliefs, because of something they do have in common — the desire to help those in need.
Since the late 1980s, five congregations — Layton Hills Baptist Church, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Mountain View Baptist Church, all in Layton, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and Clearfield Community Church, both in Clearfield — have combined their resources to help those in need of emergency food throughout northern Davis County.
“Initially when we started, none of our churches were large enough to help, and we were really struggling to meet the needs,” said Barbara MacPeek, president of the group and one of the founders of the Fish ’N Loaves program. “Together we can help and can get more volunteers.”
One feature of their program is that those receiving food donations are not required to be members of their churches. The Fish ’N Loaves group of volunteers wants anyone in the community who needs help to receive food.
“We do it because God doesn’t care what you are, whether you’re poor, black, white, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran or don’t even believe in God,” said MacPeek. “Those are who we are asked to serve. There is never a blessing greater than being where God wants you to be.”
Most of the items come from donations of food and cash from their church members and donated items delivered by the Utah Food Bank, with the annual food drive by the local Boy Scout troops being a major contributor.
Their mobile home trailer that serves as their food storage unit was donated to them several years ago. Their pantry is now filled, thanks to the recent Boy Scout food drive, but MacPeek knows those food supplies will only last until this fall. She’s not worried, though.
“I don’t ever really worry about it, because God always provides for our needs,” she said.
She takes the attitude of, “Yes, we may only have soup left, but at least we have soup. We do what we can.”
The 25 volunteers running the Fish ’N Loaves program say being a part of the program is a privilege. Karen Berrett, one of the volunteers from Layton Hills Baptist Church, said, “It is an honor to be able to help others and to be in the house when you can tell they really need it.”
Berrett said one time she delivered food to a family where the 8-year-old was so excited to finally have milk to go with his cereal.
Another one of the volunteers, Earlene Blanken, of Layton, who attends a church not directly involved with Fish ’N Loaves, delivered some fresh zucchini to an older woman who was excited to see the food because she hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast the day before.
“Usually people aren’t that grateful for zucchini,” said Blanken.
Fish ’N Loaves has grown significantly over the years. MacPeek said they used to make only 10 deliveries a month, but now make between 50 and 60 deliveries a month.
Initially, they discovered many of the calls they received were from people in emergency situations who needed food immediately while they waited for other assistance to be put into place.
The organization worries there are people in the community who are unaware of their program who could really use the help.
A family is eligible for a delivery from Fish ’N Loaves once every quarter. Along with food, the volunteers bring information for other resources. They are the only food bank that delivers food.
For more information, call 801-544-2426.