In early 2011, my relationship with the Lord came to the point where I clearly felt Him telling me, "If you want to be close with me, you need to serve." I went on the Mariners Church website and found the opportunity to serve the homeless in Costa Mesa. After that first serving, I knew my life would never be the same again.

This event began a new chapter in my life of serving and experiencing intimacy with Jesus. I truly experienced His presence and witnessed Him pouring out His love on those in need. My commitment increased and I began helping Stephanie lead the servings. In the process, I discovered new things about myself, including a desire and ability to have God speak through me to uplift and encourage people that are hurting by persistently and lovingly presenting the Gospel message. It has been a privilege and tremendous gift in my life to be part of the servings in Costa Mesa. In 2012, Stephanie felt God calling her to start the free farmers' market event and, as her partner for the servings, I came alongside her in this new mission. We got to see firsthand the Lord's commitment to those who depend on Him - when obstacles arose and things looked bleak, God moved in awesome, literally miraculous ways to pave the way for us to simply give freely and abundantly. We have been encouraged and lifted up by His hand over and over again, and the journey has been humbling and something we treasure. Through it all, the servings and the farmers' markets, the easy times and the hard, we have consistently seen God's absolute will for His name and the glory of His grace through Jesus Christ to be lifted up on display for all to see. In particular, He has shown a heart with loving compassion for those hurting and poor in spirit, and a desire to fulfill the promises of His Word for those who depend on Him, letting not a single child of His forget that He LOVES them immeasurably and will provide for them faithfully, giving them a rock to stand on FOREVER, if they will simply trust in Him through His Son Jesus. He has used these events as a tool for these purposes and for me, and for everyone else who has been part of this journey, it has been awe-inspiring, humbling, and ultimately blessed beyond description to be a part of His work here in Orange County. I can't wait to see how He uses these events and this team for even greater works to come!

Growing up, I lived on a small island with lush vegetation. Fruits and vegetables of all shapes and colors were abundant; food was literally hanging everywhere. I never needed money or even touched it until I was teenager. Everything I needed was on that island and I could eat as much as I wanted whenever I wanted it. I noticed the miraculous design in nature. I watched as seeds from trees fell to the ground, sprouted from the soil and grew into beautiful trees and vines. I watched flowers turn into fruit and saw that each fruit had a special protective shell to keep it from being damaged by bugs and weather. I couldn’t help but notice that even the seasons were part of this amazing design, working together to produce the fruits and vegetables that I grew to love so much.

Back then, I didn't know the designer, the God that made us and all that we see and enjoy. Later in life, He definitely got my attention and I am eternally grateful to know Him through Jesus. When I look back on my childhood now, I can see Him through the beautiful and perfect design that I used to take for granted. At the same time, I no longer live in a place where fruits and vegetables hang abundantly. Rather, food here is usually from a can, a drive-through or a freezer. The food seems to have so little connection to nature and the design I witnessed growing up. Most of all, I see the harm this phony food has done to our health and our bodies. As a result, my focus has turned to what is likely the most important part of God’s design in fruits and vegetables: the nutritious and beneficial effects it has on our bodies. I believe God uses fruits and vegetables to heal, strengthen and nurture us. So much of creation, the birds and the bees and many other animals, all work together to help make things grow to sustain this healthy, miraculous food supply for our bodies. How amazing!

I believe healing is available to everyone, rich or poor, through prayer, as well as healthy eating. God will provide but we need to do our part by feeding our bodies fruits and vegetables and other healthy food. Unfortunately, since healthy food isn’t hanging from the trees, it can be very expensive and many are unable to enjoy the food their bodies need. God has used my unique childhood and experiences to build in me a passionate desire to help ALL people enjoy the special, miraculous food their bodies were designed to enjoy. The Free Pantry is the result of that passion and this calling from God. I’m so thankful to be used by God in this mission. As long as God calls us and provides for us to give freely and abundantly, we will serve. We will do this through His grace, love and mercy and all I can say is thank you, God for allowing me to serve and be a part of this vision!

Spend just a short time reading the Bible and you can quickly see that serving is a core theme in following Jesus, and He instructs us all to serve in some facet! About 2 and a half years ago, I felt the Lord calling me to serve, but I wasn’t sure where, or exactly in what capacity. My wife and I had volunteered for various corporate sponsored events here and there, but I felt the calling for something outside of our comfort zone. That’s when He used a best friend to direct my path. David started serving the homeless at Lighthouse Church first and, being friends for 15 years, I was immediately interested in the experiences he would share about the serving, and witnessing the Lord change his life first hand. I was completely overwhelmed and nervous by the idea of serving the homeless and can attest to the fact it was WAY outside my normal comfort zone. Looking back, the Lord was working, this much was plainly obvious, and I wanted to be part of it!

Approximately 2 years ago, the proverbial rubber met the road in the form of serving the homeless/needy at Lighthouse Church, with David and Stephanie. In a word, it was an awakening. Serving those generally deemed “outcasts” by our society really opened my eyes to a world I couldn’t believe I didn’t see before. Couple that with experiencing the Lord provide resource after resource, in such abundance, and topple barrier after barrier to showcase his path, I was filled with a humbleness that can’t be properly expressed. God is indeed good, all the time! After a year of serving and joining the leadership team for the homeless/needy serving, God opened up an opportunity to be involved with the newly formed entity, The Pantry. Through this new ministry hundreds of local Costa Mesa families are seeing God’s provision first hand and being gifted with an abundance of fruits, veggies, dry goods, prayer and LOVE. Jesus gave it all for us, freely, without ANY person being able to earn their way to heaven. That model of free giving is what we strive to achieve at The Pantry. We love these people because He loves us. Fast forward one year after The Pantry was created and wow has it been a wild ride! The Lord continues to provide resources abundantly, the ministry is growing in every way and I am looking forward to discovering where the Lord is calling The Pantry to!

In a county with such great wealth it is heart breaking to know that thousands of people go to bed each night hungry, many are children. As a mother, I can’t image what is must feel like to put your children to bed, as they complain of being hungry. I am passionate about helping those that are less fortunate and am committed to making a difference.

The Farmers Market is one of the few charities that give 100% of its donations to purchasing and distributing food. There are no paid staff members, all help is purely volunteer. As a business owner and single mom I understand finance and how precious time is. Investing my money and my time with the Farmers Market I know every penny is making a difference. The Farmers Market provides fresh produce to families in abundance, with dignity and love. I am honored to do my small part in making Orange County a beautiful place for us all to live.

In late 2012, a passion for the poor and needy grew in my heart. I felt God pushing me into the unfamiliar. I starting praying heavily asking God to guide my direction. I was looking for Him to put me where He wanted me. I began the process of looking at local Orange County ministries and outreaches. I stumbled on the Mariners Outreach website to find a familiar name, David Huie. He was in a leadership position of a Mariners Outreach. David and I attended the same high school, so instantly I felt more comfortable showing up and getting my feet wet in this ministry.

I attended my first serving experience in November 2012. I felt God's strong presence amongst us that day. My wife and I had an amazing experience, seeing not only people in need being fed food, but being fed the Gospel. The power of God's word and the example of the leadership loving on these amazing souls really touched me. They showed them how God loves completely. As we were pulling out of the parking lot that day, my wife and I with tears of joy said to each other that things will never be the same for us. God brought me here for a reason. He has called me to help show His love to the people who need it most.

The next chapter of this ministry is exponentially exciting for me. The Pantry, a Christian based non profit, offers a free Farmers Market that is such an amazing example of God's hand. The people who attend know that the food is provided to them freely and abundantly. There is nothing expected of them when they come. They are given the Gospel and shown love and compassion just as Jesus Christ himself gives us all. I believe it is not just a request from God that we feed the poor and needy. I believe it is a command. By seeing God's hand in this ministry, I am excited for the future opportunities of growth.

As God continues to light the path we will follow.

Our mission is to share healthy food, love and hope with those in need.

 

why

Like many aspects of life, our food today is far from the way our Father intended. God created food for us to eat and enjoy full of the very nutrients our bodies need. Sadly, in our broken world, the foods that nourish us most are expensive and seem complicated compared to the cheap convenience of canned, processed foods or a trip through the drive-through. The consequences are plain to see as malnutrition and sickness run rampant. Kids struggle to develop to their potential without the essentials their bodies need. Even worse, those with less resources find it even harder to access healthy, nourishing food. We see food increasingly linked to pain and suffering in this modern world. In this darkness, we feel called to shine the light of the Lord, sharing His provision, love and hope with all in need.

Who we are

We are a group of Christians who desire to glorify God and share the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ in all that we do. This desire defines us and remains the focus of our programs as we tackle the brokenness that extends to our food, where we see issues of poverty, hunger and sickness intersect to cause pain and feelings of separation from the love of God. 

It is not our aim to impose rules, restrictions or barriers. Rather, we desire to break down barriers to joy by sharing the Lord's provision, some simple wisdom about the food our families eat, and the Gospel message.


We desire to bring healthy food and share God’s love and hope and the blessing of good health with those in need.

PROGRAMS

FREE FARMERS' MARKET

Our primary program is our free farmers' market. At these events, we bring an abundance of high-quality fresh produce and other healthy food items and set up a market-type atmosphere. Local low-income families, including motel families and elderly guests, are welcomed in and are able to "shop" for the items they prefer. Our prayer team engages our guests and offers prayer, love, the Gospel, or just a listening ear with lots of love. A highlight of the event is our Children's Ministry, where the kids get to participate in Biblically-themed arts and crafts while their parents go through the market. When we see the kids, it's easy to remember why healthy, home-cooked meals with quality ingredients are so important.

Highlights

  • Hundreds of families receive provisions each event
  • Many of these households contain 5+ people under one roof
  • Between 10,000-20,000 lbs. of high-quality, fresh food distributed at each event
  • We source organic, non-GMO produce when possible
  • Dozens of children participate in fun games and Biblically-themed crafts
  • All items given freely and abundantly in the name of the Lord

finances

  • The food we distribute is purchased at discounted rates using donations.
  • All of the services we provide are funded by donations.
  • We work with food banks, produce distributors and other sources to stretch each dollar as far as possible.
  • When possible, we receive free food, as long as it is fresh, clean, and attractive - we like to give good gifts.
  • We are all volunteers - no one receives compensation for our activities.
  • Every cent of the donations we receive is used for the operation of The Free Pantry and our events.
  • We continuously work to keep our overhead as small as possible. 
  • We treat all donations with gratitude and care, taking great lengths to honor the generous intentions of our donors.

Please consider donating to join us in this mission. Form 990's will be provided upon email request. If you have any other questions, please email us.


Board of Directors

Saifon Plewtong - Co-Founder - Statement
David Huie - Co-Founder - Statement
Jordan Foster - Statement
Cathy Frandsen - Statement
Harry Bagramian - Statement
Steven Goglanian