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Christ Church Irving Supports Initiative to End Child Hunger

Irving – As part of its mission to seek out and grab hold of opportunities to serve, CHRIST Church Irving pledged $256,000 to the Irving Schools Foundation “Food for Thought” program, which aims to ensure that Irving Independent School District (ISD) students are equipped for success with consistent access to safe, nutritious food.

As a result of its commitment to fight hunger among the students of Irving ISD, CHRIST Church has delayed a previously announced plan to construct a 1,000-seat auditorium that will provide expanded space to serve children’s ministries. Currently in the eighth month of a three-year capital campaign to build the new auditorium, CHRIST Church will postpone that initiative until May 2020 to address the more immediate need of tackling child hunger.

The Irving Schools Foundation provides financial resources to maximize educational opportunities for teachers and students.

“Nutrition was not originally part of our mission,” Crystal Scanio, CEO of Irving Schools Foundation said. “But how can a student learn when she is hungry? We had to expand our vision to meet the basic needs of students, and our board was eager to do so. First by feeding 100 kids, which was manageable. When the program grew to include 400 students, we were hanging on, but as it swelled over 900, we needed urgent financial support.”

“When we heard there are 970 children suffering from food insecurity, we felt compelled to act,” co-pastor Greg Beauchamp said. “Christianity looks out for those who cannot help themselves, and at the top of that list is a hungry child. It is our duty and our honor to provide the resources that can help students in need, and our Christian conscience would not allow us to construct a new building when there are children going without food. No one wants the new auditorium more than me, but the ‘want’ to feed hungry children is even greater.” 

“Our vision for the church is to help everyone in our community with their physical, emotional and spiritual needs,” co-pastor Keith Luttrell said. “We’ve done that in all kinds of ways that led to amazing growth in our church, but this project is greater than anything we’ve done before.”

“One of our janitors saw a fourth grader grab an apple core from the trash and eat the remnant,” Scanio said. “The school investigated and realized she wasn’t getting food at home. The more we looked into the problem, the more we realized this was a crisis throughout our district.” 

Scanio shared these concerns with Beauchamp and Luttrell, who were moved to act quickly.

“When Greg and Keith called to say CHRIST Church could support all 970 students for the year, I just started crying. It was truly an answer to my prayers,” Scanio said.

CHRIST Church has a rich legacy dating back 100 years as one of three original churches to receive land grants from the City of Irving founders. In 2012, nearly 350 members moved to its current location at 1750 E. Airport Freeway, and the church has grown to more than 1,200 members today with over 800 in attendance each week.

CHRIST Church has started reaching out to the business and faith community to raise additional funds. 

“The schools estimate another 600 or more children will be identified, so we’re reaching out to the faith community to help. Everyone I’ve asked has said yes,” Beauchamp said. “We have a former member of our church who lives in Arizona who sent $50,000. Our neighbors the Freeman Auto Group gave $10,000. Another business executive in Dallas sent $10,000. The outpouring of Christian charity has been amazing.”