In 1981, Christian Outreach in Action’s (COA) founder, Jack Jensen, saw a need in his community, specifically that people were hungry, and he saw a way to meet that need. He rented a kitchen and quite literally began feeding people. Many of us feel a similar call to serve, but not many of us take that next step to action. Jensen lived that truth and COA continues to do so.
Faith in Action
As a Los Ranchos-supported mission partner (COA received a second mission partnership grant this summer), COA feeds around 150 people breakfast every morning. They prepare fresh, healthy food, something you would feed your own family. Dinner is available during the week, and lunch on Saturday. They host a twice weekly food bank (with pet food available)! In 2018, COA served nearly 180,000 hot meals to approximately 500 low-income individuals every day.
Sticking to their founders ideal of seeing need and taking action, COA expanded how they serve their community. Many of their clients need other kinds of support beyond food. Computers are available for use three days a week, legal clinic happens each Friday afternoon, and there is both a diaper bank and clothing bank (which includes small household appliances) once a week. The Children’s Clinic (a mobile clinic founded in 1939) serves seniors, homeless people, families, and those without access to healthcare every other week.
Partnering in Service
COA is not a church, but it does collaborate with over 30 local congregations to enlist the help of volunteers. Volunteers prepare and serve the daily meals to people in the Long Beach area and nearby communities. COA is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization that does not receive any federal or state funds to do this work and depend on grants and individual donations.
COA is dedicated to transforming the lives of homeless and impoverished individuals in Long Beach and surrounding areas so they may reach and sustain self-sufficiency and independence. In alignment with Los Ranchos Presbytery culture and values, COA follows faith-based teachings that tell us to provide compassionate assistance to those in need.
COA also partners with local restaurants, grocery stores, and convention centers to rescue food that would otherwise end up in landfills. To that end, they are currently in need of a refrigerated truck to legally and safely transport fresh food donations. A refrigerated truck ensures that the donated food is safe for consumption. Due to safety regulations, items cannot be released to organizations without proper refrigeration during transportation.
Currently, COA’s top goals are to:
- Alleviate hunger among low-income individuals, including women and children, seniors, and vets in Long Beach by providing nutritious hot meals.
- Improve nutrition among low-income families through education and distribution of groceries and fresh produce.
- Address any legal issues that might inhibit their progress in life.
If you would like to support this local organization there are a few ways to impact their mission reach:
- Give directly to COA through paypal
- Use their AmazonSmile link as you shop online.
- Shop at to their brick and mortar thrift store: Clark & Atherton Mercantile
- Donate food or items
- Volunteer to serve
- Pray for those in need and those who serve.
A representative from COA was not available for comment at the time this article was written. All information was gathered through the COA website and their grant proposal through PLR.