Partnering up in El Cajon
By: Susan Naslund
But Jesus said, "There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper."
"All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish," they said.
Jesus said, "Bring them here." Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.
Elie and Rita Zgheib are in the business of feeding people in more ways than one. In addition to offering food at a greatly discounted price to the public, the couple gives monetary and in-kind donations to local pantries. "We are a family-run business and we want to give back to the community that supports us," said Elie who owns and operates the El Cajon Grocery Outlet. Elie was looking for an organization to which he could give food, but he was insistent that the donated items go to people living in El Cajon.
Meanwhile, Linda Sue Beagle, a member at Santee United Methodist Church, had often shopped at the El Cajon Grocery Outlet and over time she had built a relationship with Elie and Rita. Linda Sue recently attended the blessing of the Good Shepherd Ministry Center where she talked with Theresa Erb and Susan Naslund about the store. "Would you like me to introduce you?" asked Linda Sue. So, I and my son, Matthew, and Linda Sue arranged to meet with Elie and Rita and it became clear that we all had a shared vision - to provide help to those with food insecurity in the City of El Cajon.
So far, the food donated by Elie and Rita to the Bethlehem Food Pantry has arrived at the times when it has been needed the most, and is always a welcome supplement to the non-perishable items the pantry receives from members of Foothills. "Just when we ran out of boxed cereal, we arrived at the pantry to find that our supply had been replenished by the El Cajon Grocery Outlet. It is like loaves and fishes," Theresa said after a recent delivery.
Bethlehem Food Pantry is grateful for the charitable hearts of Elie and Rita. The members of Foothills are encouraged to be equally generous by shopping at the El Cajon Grocery Outlet as often as possible. Kindness will be multiplied so that there is abundance for all.
Plan your next shopping trip: El Cajon Grocery Outlet, 350 N. 2nd Street, El Cajon