Fountain of Living Waters Church, located on Johnson Road in Phelan, is very active in helping our community and beyond. Recently the Church was blessed when they were approved to participate in the USDA’s Food Assistance Program. The church food pantry is held on the second Wednesday of each month. This program allows them to distribute additional commodities such as; powdered milk, rice, beans, pasta, dry potatoes, peanut butter, dry fruits, and nuts. Plus, a variety of canned meats, fruits, and veggies. The Church started a small food pantry about 2 ½ years ago with Pastor Daouda Traiore’s wife, Danelle, asking the congregation to help by giving $5 to prepare small bags of food for those in need. A small table was set up at the back of the church on Sundays so that those in need could take home a bag of food.
About 25 bags of food were picked up each week. Then about the time covid hit, the need had become much greater, with over 100 bags being picked up. It became apparent that there was a need to do more. Members of the church suggested a program called High Desert Second Chance, an organization that gathers unsold food from local grocery stores and wholesale purveyors. Danielle and other volunteers began driving to Hesperia to pick up huge loads of food offered to food pantries serving the High Desert.
Danielle arrives early and helps the organizers by volunteering to help distribute the food for all the groups picking up food first, then picking up the food she needs for the Tri-Community. Volunteering to help organize the distribution is how she expresses her gratitude for the food she can take back to the Tri-Community. She always comes back with a huge smile and her soul glowing as she brings back fresh veggies, fruits, cheese, yogurt, bread, eggs, and cereal–you name it. Another resource the Church’s pantry utilizes is Feeding America, which offers standard things like milk, eggs, meat, and other nutritious staple items.
This allowed the Church to hold weekly distributions on Saturdays. The church was soon feeding so many residents in need that traffic became an issue which was cleverly remedied for the most part by having volunteers direct traffic into the parking lot and eliminating any inconvenience to others in the community driving on Johnson Road.
On food distribution days, the volunteers, about 15 on any given day, first pray that they can come together to help serve those in the community who need assistance and then begin assembling and loading the commodities into the waiting vehicles.
Youth volunteers are a huge blessing. At times, Anna, Shumie, and Hazel, as well as other youth, work hard and remain teachable as they learn additional skills such as food storage and warehousing. They even do the paperwork necessary for registering the folks coming in for food and do it with a happy heart. In addition, delivery teams come to pick up food for the disabled or elderly folks in the Tri-Community who do not have transportation or cannot otherwise make it to the Church.
Dannielle evangelizes to the gathering cars speaking the gospel over a loudspeaker; her sermons are straight to the point–follow the Lord; he loves you.
The Community Cabinet provided the church with a 40-foot food container to help promote nutrition in the community. Along with many other containers acquired, the Church has created a clever on-site distribution warehouse, including a shower facility offered during the distribution days.
The Fountain of Living Waters Church also offers outreach during the holiday season. In November, baskets are provided with everything needed to prepare a home-cooked turkey dinner. Last year baskets were handed out to over 200 families.
Pastor Daouda was able to acquire chairs that were no longer being used from the Phelan Community Center. He saw that his church could help other churches with abundant blessings received locally by assisting the pastor of a church in Riverside to do outreach in Mexico.
Along with a few Church members, Pastor Daouda delivered the chairs to a newly built church in Ensenada. This is his third trip to Ensenada, and he describes the community where the church is located as living on a mountain in extreme poverty, drug addiction, and prostitution. Both Fountain of Living Waters Church and the church in Riverside helped build this church and continue to provide outreach by delivering food, clothing, toothbrushes, and even small stuffed animal toys for the children in this tiny Mexican community. Their last delivery was June 24, 2022.
If you are in need, the Church’s food pantry is open on Saturdays each week, with food distribution starting at 10:30am. On the second Wednesday of the month only, USDA food commodities are given to folks starting at 1:30pm.