Original Article Posted On: The Chapel
Have you ever wondered what it takes to change the world? Super-powers? X-ray vision? How about an awareness, a bit of ingenuity, a few connections, and your brother.
Meet James and Phillip Mathew, two Hinsdale brothers taking a step toward helping change the face of hunger within their own community and, God willing, the nation.James and Phillip are the brains behind “Got Food,” a new phone app designed to help food insecure people find nearby food pantries and soup kitchens simply by typing in their zip code. They began development this past summer after having an eye-opening experience while serving in their local food pantry.
But truthfully, they didn’t always see the problem.
James shares, “A few years ago I was walking through downtown Hinsdale on my way home and a woman approached me asking me to point her to the local food pantry. I was really embarrassed after so many years of living in the town that I didn’t know we even had a food pantry.”
He was 14 years old.
His brother, Phillip, chimed in. “When I started to help (at the food pantry), I began to see all the people needing groceries in Hinsdale. It surprised me. (It was) an eye-opener.”
Hinsdale isn’t the only place where people experience food insecurity. One out of three people in Illinois are faced with tough decisions: pay a utility bill or buy food? Do they purchase needed medicine or food? The challenge of hunger isn’t the lack of food, it’s the lack of access to the food.
Food insecurity is defined as the lack of access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life and not knowing where to find one’s next meal. These challenges aren’t limited to the big cities. The faces of hunger are in our communities.
The single parent struggling to provide for her family. The next-door neighbor who is unemployed or underemployed. The disabled. Military families. Veterans. Seniors on fixed incomes. These are the faces. These are the 1.8 million people just in the surrounding communities of our eight Chapel campuses. Theses are the 661,950 children who face hunger as an everyday reality. These are the faces, the people, God has called us to help.
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:37-40, NLT
And that’s where the Mathew brothers hope to help make a difference.
The idea began after James encountered the need and grew as they came face to face with people experiencing hunger on a daily basis. Together they designed the look of each page of the app, gathered information through their mom’s connection with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, linked up with a technical firm through their father’s company, and continue to add new information as they receive it.
They may seem like superheroes but in reality they’re normal soccer-playing, music-loving teens. James recently joined a discipleship huddle with Hinsdale Student Ministries Pastor, Josh Pardee, learning what it means to experience more of God. They both continue to serve at their local food pantry.
These two brothers go to show that you don’t need x-ray vision to change the world. You just need to open your eyes, be willing to be moved by the Holy Spirit, see the need, and reach out for more.