COVID Grocery Run

Tags: Hospitality, SEND North, Story

When things are dark, be on the lookout for what God will do!  God took plans ruined by the COVID-19 outbreak and brought together a massive project to bless several villages across Alaska.   

Like so many ministries across the country, SEND North’s Member Care Team had no choice but to cancel three needed trips to visit and encourage our teams in Alaskan villages.  At the same time, Arctic Barnabas (a sister organization focused on care and encouragement of missionary families in the far North) had to refocus key ministries as their retreat home was closed as ‘not an essential service.’  Their ministry funds for groceries and utilities needed a new home as we were considering ways to encourage our teams instead of an in-person visit.  So God called an audible and connected the dots with logistics so that the funds went to bless SEND North Families and other Christian workers.  Free groceries, supplies, and notes of encouragement were sent with free shipping to bless individual families who then turned around to be a blessing to their neighbors! An excellent idea that was not easy to pull off. 


The logistics involved were complicated, to put it mildly.  Each family had their shopping list, which meant having teams of shoppers, packers, and accountants working on getting all the requested items together amid social distancing rules.  It was not uncommon to have people spend hours per store to wait in line and try to find the right items.  One volunteer practically lived at Costco for a couple of days.  The pilots had to navigate each village’s social distancing rules and restrictions, but thankfully many allowed the essential work of grocery delivery.  Most stops were just a quick landing, unloading, and a time of prayer with one person at the airport.  Nate Sobie, SEND North Chief Pilot, was able to get to 5 villages in a one-day round trip flight out of Anchorage.  Mark Farris covered the northern villages out of Fairbanks.  For those villages that would not allow us to land, we shipped those gifts via third party air carriers.  The faces of joy in the pictures we received tell us all the effort was well worth it.

Happy Children with fresh groceries during the COVID crisis.

Joe Greeson remarked that this might have been our Member Care Team’s ‘finest hour’ with so many people working together across multiple organizations.  A hearty thanks to all of those who worked, gave, and prayed to pull this off.  All the glory must go to God for providing for and encouraging His servants in this way.