Love the 760: Venture Church hopes to be a blessing to the community it serves
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Venture Church has worked to be a source of support for people in need in Encinitas. Starting this week, the church will be the new summer distribution spot for the Encinitas Union School District’s Bags of Love program that serves families who are experiencing food insecurity.
During the school year, Venture Church helped pack about 50 bags full of food that were distributed every Friday to EUSD families, so children could have proper nutrition during their weekend away from school. When COVID-19 happened, the district and the Encinitas Educational Foundation stepped up to help the district’s most vulnerable families with their Bags of Love program and Venture was more than willing to help supplement their efforts.
The church organized a rapid response team and by the month of April had seen the demand for the weekly food bags grow to nearly 200 bags every week. Additionally, many families who attended the church and lived in the local community began looking to the church for assistance.
“Our rally cry during the crisis has been to Love the 760 (#LoveThe760 on social media), and in doing so we haven’t said no to an opportunity to serve as much of the community as we can,” said Troy Martin, lead pastor of Venture Church.
As school is now out for the summer, Venture will take over the food distribution—families will now drive through their campus on Santa Fe Drive on Wednesday mornings for bags of groceries for the rest of the summer.
On May 30, Venture Church also partnered with Convoy of Hope and their effort to feed 10 million meals nationwide. A loaded truck dropped off over 35,000 pounds of food and supplies and the church helped distribute essential items and bags of meals to close to 400 families.
Martin hopes to expand even further on Love the 760 efforts starting in the fall, mobilizing the Venture congregation in Encinitas on a variety of service projects.
“From the very beginning we wanted our church to be a blessing to the community,” Martin said of the church that was founded six years ago. “We want the community to know and love that we’re here to help.”
Before COVID-19, Venture Church had about 700 people attend on Sundays across its three services. The church has stayed engaged with its congregation with online services and small group Zooms. Since churches were allowed to open to limited capacity, for the last three weeks Venture has began to welcome back members in services, families spread out 6 feet from each other and overflow areas to allow for more spacing. They will also continue to offer online services for those who don’t feel comfortable yet to return.
Martin said they are seeing less than half of their normal Sunday attendance but it has been exciting to see some of the congregation return after a long time apart.
To learn more about services or community outreach opportunities, visit venturechurch.tv
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