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23 || No Ordinary Brown Bag Special

Here at AUTHENTIK magazine, we love to highlight different ministries and the dedicated people behind them. We share this story to illustrate how much impact a little effort can have. Katie got the wonderful opportunity to chat with Dena Wagner about her unique ministry that touches her local area in a very special way. Dena’s enthusiasm and desire to serve as Christ served are truly contagious.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: So, what is Lunches of Love exactly? How did it get started?

Dena: It all began with Mission Firefly, a missionary group of friends that helps low-income kids grow spiritually. We founded this group while on a mission trip in Guatemala. We wanted to do more than just one mission trip, so we decided to start the Mission Firefly ministry once we got back home. Lunches of Love is one of our outreaches. It is designed to help children from low-income families in local schools. Every Friday, the kids go home with a bag of food to get them through the weekend. They receive free breakfast and lunch during the school week, but they usually don’t have much to eat at their homes. Different churches, businesses and organizations adopt a school and provide the food. Right now, we serve nine schools in our county.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: Where does the food come from?

Dena: Our partners and churches usually have bins placed somewhere with a list of the needed items for donations. We mostly need food that can be prepared easily — like Easy Mac and oatmeal — since the children are often on their own and need to prepare food for themselves.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: What is the biggest struggle?

Dena: Well, in the beginning, when we were getting started, people gave more readily. But donations taper off over time. Finances are a big part of it, and the poor economy has affected people’s giving.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: How has Lunches of Love affected your family?

Dena: Um, it has! Greatly! My kids see how other people live, both in Guatemala and with Lunches of Love. It’s a ministry our kids can get involved in by helping pack the bags of food. In fact, the kids at church pack the bags instead of the adults so that they can see that there are needs around them.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: What has God shown you through Lunches of Love?

Dena: Definitely that this is not about me! There is so much more out there … I shouldn’t be so selfish. God has given us resources so that we will share them with others and be a light for Him.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start a ministry of this kind or involve themselves in a ministry that already exists?

Dena: It’s hard! You have to put yourself out there! Go serve where you see a need like a soup kitchen.

AUTHENTIK Magazine: So, how can someone get involved with your ministry?

Dena: Just visit our website to make a donation. www.missionfirefly.org

AUTHENTIK Magazine: So, for the sake of being random, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Dena: [Laughs] Cookie dough!

Even if the Lord isn’t leading you to begin your own ministry, He has definitely called all of us to serve one another: to feed the hungry, to love the orphans and widows, and to bring hope to the poor and unloved.

We hope this small look into Dena’s ministry encourages you to help out with Lunches of Love or a ministry in your own area, such as a soup kitchen or crisis center. The world’s problems might look overwhelming at first glance, but just doing our part and beginning close to home can start to make a huge difference!

“Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).

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