Today’s message of Hope comes from World Race alum, Julia Piecka (2018, J squad). She works with a faith-based nonprofit, Urban Impact Foundation, located in Pittsburgh, PA.

A car pulls up. “Hi! How are you doing? It’s great to see you! How many meals can we get for you?”

The person on the driver’s side of the car rolls down his window to simply share the number of meals they would like for their family, sometimes even neighbors.

“About four, please.”

“Sure thing! We will put those in the trunk of your car for you,” I’d say as I load up four hot meals and breakfasts to put in their trunk. I’ll put them in, load them up, close the trunk, and wish them a good day as they drive off through the church parking lot.

This happens every Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 1pm as families, neighbors, and volunteers drive out to Allegheny Center Alliance Church in the North Side of Pittsburgh, PA. Every day around 500 meals are given out to the community, and every week around 3,000 or so meals are distributed to members of the North Side neighborhoods.

After I returned from the World Race last year, I knew I wanted to continue working to fulfill the Great Commission through outreach and meeting the needs of others. I’ve been able to live that out by working with a faith-based nonprofit, Urban Impact Foundation, located in Pittsburgh, PA. I get to invest in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and their families to help them grow as followers of Christ.

Seven weeks ago, our organization’s normal day-to-day schedules and programs were called to a sudden stop as COVID-19 crept across the nation. Families, businesses, and schools were affected as people’s lives were shaken up. Schools and businesses had to shut down as people were being laid off or lost their jobs. Suddenly, many people did not know where their next paycheck or meal would come from and anxiety set in.

At Urban Impact, our usual ministry was disrupted, but it didn’t mean that we stopped serving.
A common phrase amongst the World Race community is “life is ministry, and ministry is life,” and that is the perfect way to summarize what ministry has looked like for the people of Pittsburgh.
Even though I haven’t seen my regular students in the past few weeks, I have been so encouraged and motivated by my fellow staff members and people of the community who have donated, volunteered, or served to help our families and students.

Even though life and my ministry look a lot different right now, the Lord is still on the move and there is work still to be done. When we set our eyes on Jesus and look to Him, all we can see is endless opportunities to share the Gospel and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

For more information about you can partner with World Race alumni who are being the hands and feet of Jesus, check out this post about how you can join what’s happening in Thailand to meet the needs of marginalized women.