From banquet to disaster relief
In 2008, Jemaat Kristen Indonesia (JKI)’s senior pastor’s vision for feeding the multitude came into reality with the establishment of Rojo Pawon. Today, it is a thriving venture that serves a wide range of clientele: Unlimited Fire and church conferences, interreligious events, Sekolah Kristen Terang Bangsa (Light of the Nation Christian School), as well as the catering needs of the Semarang City government. Rojo Pawon will be Mennonite World Conference’s catering partner for Assembly 17 in Indonesia in 2022.
“They are excited about serving meals for Indonesia 2022. The plan is to put a wide array of Indonesian flavours and ingredients on the platter, while incorporating the various dietary needs of our international guests,” says Assembly national coordinator Sarah Yetty.
Rojo Pawon has a long track record of serving meals to thousands of people, true to John 6:1-14 where Jesus fed the 5 000 and no one was left hungry. In its first year of operation in 2008, it took on an order to serve 55 000 people from the city government and has since served many big events.
Fast-forward 13 years: Semarang was hit by flash floods in early 2021 and some JKI church members were stuck at home without being able to leave home to buy food. The church quickly organized to provide 2 000 meal boxes three times daily to be distributed to members, but then the government ordered another 5 000 boxes for residents in Semarang.
The church youth helped to distribute 7 000 meal boxes three times daily, going directly into flooded alleyways using 4-wheel drive cars and lifeboats so that people did not go hungry.
Rojo Pawon now employs 15 people on a full-time basis during the pandemic to serve the church and its school as well as its hospital visitation and street kids meal program. It hires more people for bigger events.
“They have put extra safety measures for operating during and post pandemic. All staff must wear a mask and a face shield when they enter the complex, and must wear gloves when handling food. At the moment they also put on hold banquet-style catering and only serve food in compostable meal boxes for hygiene purposes,” Sarah Yetty says.
“We look forward to a time of gathering and having meals together!” Sarah Yetty says.