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Congregational Engagement: Crossing Borders in Service

from Peach Jack, Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle, WA

Congregational Engagement: Crossing Borders in Service

Peach Jack

This article highlights two members of Seattle First Baptist, Dante and Annaliese Terminello. Both in ministry, these two run a nonprofit that provides Free Food for All. Moreso, all food they use are all fresh items grocery stores will throw away as they get in new inventory. Their philosophy is multifaceted. It considers "environmental impacts, hunger issues, reduction of need, childhood enrichment, and the general wellbeing of all human beings." This article comes from Peach Jack who is the director of congregational engagement at Seattle First Baptist.

I met with Dante and Annaliese at a restaurant nearby to discuss their involvement with food and with the congregation. 

Dante and Annaliese met in Seattle, both separately working in food distribution, and they made it clear that this is their life work going forward. Along with their 14-month-old, John Prince, they have been found in the kitchen and dining room often at SFBC, preparing what they call “Free Food For All”. Annaliese comes from Dallas, has a BS in vocal performance, and now is heard in the church choir! Dante is from Miami, and met Annaliese in Seattle, when involved with the Occupy Movement in 2011-12. She had been coordinating the Immanuel Community Services Food Bank and he was distributing food in the parks with “Food Not Bombs” in Orlando, Florida.

“For All”, their umbrella organization (see "For All" article) does grocery food rescue, meaning they glean good fresh food that is headed for dumpsters, as stores are turning over inventory. The food they prepare is mostly from perishables, excluding meat and dairy, which they donate to food banks. Otherwise, the remaining 80-90 percent goes into making “dietary” vegan/Halal/Kosher meals. They explain that the food is cleaned and sanitized using an old world recipe of vinegar and water, though it is not certified by a faith leader. Weekends and holidays are when they fill in
the gaps left by other organizations, whose doors are open on weekdays.

Besides feeding people good food, their goal is to use what would otherwise be wasted, “reducing negative consequences and increasing positive action,” to the extent of spreading peace. This philosophy considers: environmental impacts, hunger issues, reduction of need, childhood enrichment and general well-being of fellow human beings, spreading good will.

Asked how they see their work related to the SFBC family, they offer gratitude for our stewardship through the Outreach commission. For All uses our space on weekdays, particularly in the summer months, when they are feeding children and doing the preparation in our kitchen. Additionally, we have supported them with administrative costs of coordinating efforts of their large organization. They love spending time with us at Wednesday community dinners and special events. Annaliese is sharing her beautiful voice on Sundays, and you will find Dante and John Prince freely sharing smiles and good will. A particular request is for assistance with grant writing and creation of an advisory board.

For All is very strong in its operations, though they recognize the health of their organization is in its sustainability and structure. Volunteers are welcome in every aspect of their efforts.

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