What does it take to make a difference? It turns out that it doesn’t require anything too elaborate, as Pasadena church discovered. Small acts of kindness can make a big impact.
Back in 2017, the church took a day to host free meals for local law enforcement—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And the relationship has blossomed since. “Our 2017 event opened the door to our presence in the community,” said Aileen Ligan, the Community Services director at the Pasadena church. “I wanted them to know us as members and not just a building they drive by. After that first event, our church started bringing lunch to the dispatch at the department during Global Youth Day. It began to build a familiarity with our church and the community outreach we are passionate about.”
This January, the church opened its doors again. One Sunday, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., the church fed three patrol teams plus some of the department’s professional civilian staff—almost 50 people. Local business donated food, as did some local residents of Pasadena who brought homemade dishes for the officers.
“The generosity from the Pasadena Adventist church was definitely appreciated by all at the police department personnel,” said Sean M. Dawkins, Lieutenant, Pasadena Police Department, Field Operations Division, East Service Area. “All of us thought it was so special that members of your church were available all day to make sure the personnel working at the department [that day] were able to get some great food.”
Church members came in throughout the day to fellowship with the officers during the meals and express their appreciation. As often happens with acts of service, the members were just as blessed as the officers. “The officers were so kind to us and especially to the children,” said Greg Sewell, head elder at the Pasadena church. “One officer even played an entire game of ping pong with a few of the kids. They really appeared to enjoy themselves, and we enjoyed the time with them as well.”
“Their deep gratitude and appreciation was very clear,” Sewell continued. “They got to see how much we appreciate what they do, and the most wonderful part of it was that we got to pray with them before they went back to their shift.”
What started as a simple opportunity to share a meal or two became the crux of a deeper relationship. “Your kind generosity has definitely impacted all the officers and professional civilian staff at the department,” Lieutenant Dawkins shared when Ligan asked how the event impacted the officers. “It is always so special for the officers when members of the community reach out to thank us or invite us to share a meal with them. We appreciate everything the community does for us, and it is truly special when something like this happens.”