EP SATURDAYS - URBAN MISSIONARY INSTITUTE - SPAGHETTI SATURDAYS

The ELISHA PROJECT
BE TRANSFORMED

Give. Love. Live.
Unmute

The Reason for EP

The Elisha Project is a story that was birthed more than 25 plus years ago; and for me – I know long before I was thought of. For the first few years of the project I tried to tell the Elisha Project story while concealing the very core of its inspiration. Perhaps embarrassment…perhaps ego.

Understanding that most people purposefully but with good reason, stay away from long narratives; I promise you that I will be as guarding of your time as I am with the lunches we prepare each Saturday.

In 1985, on a brisk March morning life as I knew it changed. Now everyone has a story to tell and mine is no better or worse than the next persons; this one just happens to be mine. There was a knock on my door requesting that my brother, grandmother and I accompany the person on a 20 minute taxi ride to my mothers residence. My brother and I lived with my grandmother. I was 15 years of age at the time.

When we arrived at the building in Brooklyn I can hardly remember anything but the details of what I experienced. I am unsure of what was said to me as I floated out of that car and bounded into the building. I once lived on the third floor with my mother, 2 brothers, 2 sisters and my stepfather.

As I climbed the stairs past many strange people I completely forgot how much I despised the decrepit building and it’s strange smells. What I saw stopped me in my tracks and is something 25 years later I see every time I see them again. My 2 sisters and 2 female cousins were coming down the stairs, daisy- chained together in their unkempt hair and pajamas. They were just babies with my 11 yr old sister being the eldest. They were so happy to see me. They smiled. And called my name. I was the eldest after all.

I kissed them and tears immediately rolled down my face as I has recently tried to enter the apartment but was not allowed. I hadn’t seen them in a while. They did not look well. What I assume was the bureau of child welfare kept them moving as I made my way up the stairs. On the next landing was my mother. She too was happy to see me. She was wearing that red coat that I despised and her blue bandana. This woman that I adored, that gave me life…that had loved me…was being led in iron handcuffs by policemen.

She called me by my name and had such a look of sadness, relief, joy and exhaustion on her face but none of those mirrored the look of pure anger I felt in my soul. As she leaned in to kiss me I instinctively pulled back and away. She shouted “I love you” as I ran up the stairs. I would never see her again. That’s a story for another day.

There are not enough words to describe what I found in that apartment. But my youngest brother of 7 years lost his life that day. For my mothers negligence and human frailty we all lost brother and mother.

He was a normal 7 year old boy and the love of my life. She was a great mother who fell on hard times and had no one there to lend a hand and knock on her door. To the the data collectors she was a statistic, as were we. To me she was the embodiment of a cruel world that ate up those not strong enough and not protected enough to fight back.

In my anger that day I vowed to do something about all of this one day. Now the route to doing something has been filled with a lot of detours through the military, school, corporate america, and even theological training but here we are…you see, every day that we are out there doing Elisha Project there is a good chance that we are reaching a mom on either side of the bag. A chance that a boy will see the love that he is missing. A chance that in so minute a gesture there is a flicker of that thing that people all over he world desperately need…HOPE.

And every day that we are out there I am reminded that he didn’t die in vain. A seed must fall into the ground in order to grow and blossom and feed so many more.

You may see food and clothes being handed out in the videos…but don’t be fooled, we are giving out LOVE and HOPE.

Sometime that materializes in a Saturday lunch. There are times when that materializes in Saturday dinner. Then there are the times when no one is watching and it’s just me and some mom on her last leg looking me in the eye and saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” And I can put my arm around her and say, “you can…and you must…and we are going to help you in any way that we can.”

God allows various situations to come in and out of our lives and they should never be squandered as merely a time. For every day opportunities are clothed in trials big and small. The love that God put in my heart and the plan that He had for me before I was made continues to be revealed every day. He also has a plan for you and your life.

We are not rich and we are not funded. What we are is incapable of ignoring the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, or neighbors that line our world.

That boy lives every time we serve. He has fueled me since that day in March and I thank God for his life. Come join us and Give of yourself. Love others. And Live for service.

George L. Ortiz, Jr.
founder and servant
The Elisha Project

One Purpose – One Mission – One Focus

We believe that anyone can serve. The only requirement is a willingness to stretch beyond your comfort zone, fears, and ideas of who people are supposed to be.

Meet the Founding Family

Carrie

Carrie

lead chef and diaper changer

Ms. Carrie is a Redlands University Alumni who traded in her psychology degree for the joys of homeschooling, freezer meal prep and the lead chef on all EP meals! In her spare time she plays RISK and cooks everything!

The Ortiz Boyz

The Ortiz Boyz

Photographers/Video/Baby Duty/Pizza Lovers

2 serving since they were 7 and 5 and the other babies since 5 months and gestation respectively. They can do it all and do it every week.

George

George

prayer warrior/preacher/urban missionary

Brooklyn born, Bronx bred, SoCal cultured, Atlanta inspired, USMC Vet and servant of the Most High. Believer that hands and feet without movement are dead.

Carrie

Carrie

lead chef and diaper changer

Ms. Carrie is a Redlands University Alumni who traded in her psychology degree for the joys of homeschooling, freezer meal prep and the lead chef on all EP meals! In her spare time she plays RISK and cooks everything!

The Ortiz Boyz

The Ortiz Boyz

Photographers/Video/Baby Duty/Pizza Lovers

2 serving since they were 7 and 5 and the other babies since 5 months and gestation respectively. They can do it all and do it every week.

George

George

prayer warrior/preacher/urban missionary

Brooklyn born, Bronx bred, SoCal cultured, Atlanta inspired, USMC Vet and servant of the Most High. Believer that hands and feet without movement are dead.

The Elisha Project is growing every day and many people have begun to ask, “Why are you doing this?” and “How did it start?” We sat down as a family and decided that it was time for us to answer those questions on our blog for people to read themselves. We will try to keep it as brief as possible.

Our Inspiration

6 years ago our family was your typical young American family.  We had a 2 yr old son, a 14 yr old daughter (that lived with her mother -from a previous marriage) and another boy on the way.  I was a partner in a successful business venture and my wife was a stay at home mom. She lived for the children and I lived to make money, close big deals and conquer the world.  On occasion I found time to spend with my family (as long as work did not call – and it always did).

My company closed a big deal with a fortune 500 company and we moved from California to the East Coast in order to satisfy the contracts.  We had plenty of money, friends, and some family.  We were relatively happy, but more importantly for me, we had need of very little.  My wife was 3 months pregnant when we moved.  She was a Huntington Beach girl moving to New England.

Over the course of the next 6 months many things did not go our way.  There were problems with the company contracts, funds were moving slowly and things were getting stressful.  In the course of that time we exhausted more resources than I care to disclose.  Things were getting scary but I knew that I could fix things and we would be fine.  Our monthly expenses were triple what I was bringing in.  But my ego wouldn’t let me see there was a problem.  Just in the nick of time I was able to land a deal in December that allowed us to get through and then some.  The project was labor intensive and required me to be in California more than we wanted.  I offered my wife a Disneyland vacation to come with me and at  6 months pregnant and homesick, she agreed.  The next 6 months passed by and she delivered in California.  We were living in hotel suites and working on the project, living high on the hog.  I was happy and she,  not so much.  I launched a new business with my client and we landed a multi-million dollar contract.  My new son was born and I had not spent very much time with him or the family.  In June of that year my wife gave me an ultimatum, the company or the family.  As dumb as I seemed, I picked the family.  I explained to my partners the situation and the fact that we had a brand new home in New England and I would travel back and forth.  Everything seemed to be in order and perfect.

We arrived in New England and immediately the checks stopped with no explanation or warning.  We were due a large amount of money and I believed we would receive it eventually.  It never came.  The next 4 months saw all of our life savings wiped away.  No one was looking to hire an over achieving 35 yr old CEO with a six figure need in New England.  The situation became so bad that we ended up going to a Food Bank for groceries.  Within 6 months we were losing our home, autos, friends, and dignity.  No one really believed us and very few sent help.  We were always the ones that helped others.  We found ourselves without a home and $145.72 in the bank that November.

My sons were 3 yrs and 6 months old and my wife was suffering from untreated plantar fasciitis (she could barely walk and we no longer had insurance).  We did not qualify for any kind of assistance based on the previous years income.  We refused to lie to get help and kept barely hanging on.  I was at my wits end and with all pride destroyed I took the offer my brother in-law extended and went to live in Georgia.  Homeless, broke, embarrassed, ashamed, and feeling like anything but a man.  My brother-in-law and sister (Danny Center) extended their home and everything they owned to us.  They asked only one favor, that we would attend their church on Sunday…once.  My wife was a believer but I was not.

That sunday we went to a little church in Douglasville, Georgia pastored by a quirky man name Pastor Dave Divine…that church was the

Church at Chapel Hill  I came to Christ on a call from Pastor Dave on that sunday and  and through their staff Pastor Frank, Pastor Jeremiah and others we started serving in small groups.  Carrie got involved in the children’s ministry and I got involved in the Pantry with Pastor Frank.  We fell in love with the idea that we could help feed people so that they would not go through what we did.  Little did we know that God had a plan to extend that pantry to the streets and help us change the Giver as well as the recipient.  That church never cared about what we looked like or had, they only wanted to extend the love that Christ has bestowed on every one of us.

We vowed that when we got back on our feet we would make sure that we did something for those like us that need love, help, food, friends, etc.  In Georgia, God turned my life around and I enrolled in seminary.  We have never looked back and God has never stopped proving that He is Lord. We have never forgotten how alone we felt and how many people did not extend a hand to help.  We know what it feels like to have nothing and how it feels when people look at you as if you ARE NOTHING.  Well, we don’t look at people like that.

WE REFUSE TO DO NOTHING! HOW ABOUT YOU!

6 years ago we were homeless and now we feed both the hope-filled and  homeless – There is a God and we see His face in His children every day, but especially on Saturday afternoons when we show them love.  Come join us.


The Elisha Project started in a very basic and simple way.  For many years our family has wrestled with the idea of how to help more…how can we make a difference where we live.  We initially tried to bring some people together from our church, and then a couple of churches.  But it just seemed that there was always a board here and a committee there and nothing really could get moving.

Then one fateful evening I was in prayer and could not rest afterward.  So I turned on the television and stopped to watch a funny looking preacher who was talking about “getting in the valley and digging ditches.”  I fell asleep before I could get the entire story.

The next morning I turned to 2 Kings and read the story of “Elisha” that the young preacher from North Carolina was referencing and it all made sense to me.  I asked my wife to listen to it as I went to take a shower and when I returned, she was looking at me as if her light bulb also went off.  We decided that day that we would not wait for anyone else to do what “God had called us to do.”

Straight out of the Josh Wilson song – “I Refuse.”  That all transpired on a Thursday morning.  That Friday night I was in prayer and the Elisha Project was born.  That Saturday we fed 24 people and the project started.  We have seen a vision for what this will become but know that we are only to do what we can and allow Him to do all He can…which is a whole lot!!!

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The Elisha Project is not and will never be a “free lunch” program.  It is our aim to meet people where they are and show them the love that is due every human being.  We will never feed them anything less than we ourselves would eat both spiritually and naturally.

Our Purpose is to do the will of our Father. Per His command:

Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

EP Programs

EP Saturdays

Our signature program takes you on the front lines of need to expose the true servant in you. Come and be transformed through the service for the least of these…YOU!

UMI

Designed for anyone that wants to do more than talk about reaching the lost.  UMI will equip you for service and prepare you to take your city by LOVE.

Spaghetti Saturdays

A night like Mama would love.  Food. Family. Friends. Fellowship. Praise & Worship and the Word of God.  All in your community for your community.

EP in Your Community

Watch EP Videos

Telling the Story

Every week since June of 2011 we have headed out to the streets to give of what we have. And since the very first day when it was only the Ortiz family, we never failed to record the interaction. Our goal was then and remains, visually telling the story we experience in hopes that others would be motivated to
GIVE. LOVE. LIVE.

More Than a Meal

“Most people think that this is a homeless program with the focus being on the needy; however, only the second part of that statement is true. We are focused on the needy… We just don’t know on which side of the bag resides the needier person.”
— G.L. Ortiz, Jr., servant, EP

Give

Give your all in everything you do. Give of your entire self.

Love

Love everyone…look past the exterior and see how God sees.

Live

Live for serving others. The last shall be first.

Global Perspective

Our vision expands past our own shores and into the multitudes that are in need.

Spaghetti Saturdays FAQ

What is Spaghetti Saturdays?     

A family style dinner

Who Can Come?                           

Anyone and Everyone

How Much Does is Cost?  

Free

What is on the Menu?

Spaghetti, Meatballs, Salad,Bread, Coffee, Juice, Water

How Long Does it Last?    

Usually about 2 hours

Can I Volunteer?

Yes: http://vols.pt/YVsJUY

Can I RSVP?  

Yes: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/elisha-project-presents-spaghetti-saturdays-tickets-10812224655?aff=efbevent

Can I Donate?    

Yes, Click this link: https://www.facebook.com/TheElishaProject/app_117708921611213

You can also click on the Donate button above.

About This Project

The Elisha Project is a program designed to effectively and efficiently engage, galvanize, and inspire people to help each other via the simplest methods of love and service.  Principles that are at the core of our Christian beliefs.

In 2011, one family had the vision of simply REFUSING TO DO NOTHING! That family decided that they would go out on their own and start serving bag lunches in Providence, Rhode Island.  Their initial investment of $48.00 yielded exactly 24 meals and EP was born.

Utilizing only social media (FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) and word of mouth, the program has grown from 1 family to 35,800  families and counting (011114).  The meals have crossed the 15,000 mark and still climbing. EP has happened in 4 different states and EP – Pakistan launched in January of 2014.

The program has grown to four different offerings:

1) The “EP Saturdays” program

2) The “EP Spaghetti Saturdays” program

3) The “EP Pizza Co.” Program

4) Urban Missionary Institute

For more information please call us at 401-400-1628

or email us at: servant@elishaproject.org

EP Videos

Most people think that this is a homeless program with the focus being on the needy; however, only the second part of that statement is true.  We are focused on the needy… We just don’t know on which side of the bag resides the needier person.” 

                                         — G.L. Ortiz, Jr., Servant, EP

Wk 122 – Do Something from Elisha Project on Vimeo.

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EP Saturday Program

Our signature offering that started the project for us was this “EP Saturday”.

Program Details

Who can participate:

 Families and Individuals

Costs:                                  

$2.00 per meal

Time:                                  

10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Place:                                  

EP Headquarters 

Give Zone:                        

TBD 

Day:                                      

Saturday

Scheduling:                      

Send us an email:    myelishaproject@gmail.com      

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EP Lunch List

Here is the shopping list for 250 lunches (that is the minimum for a Saturday)

       Cold Sub Sandwiches

  • 250 apples or 22 large bags of apples      
  • 10 heads of iceberg lettuce 
  • 34 large salad tomatoes  (not Roma)  
  • 10 pack of Land O Lakes American Cheese
  • 18 Oscar Meyer Sub Kits (ham/turkey or ham/salami)   
  • 8 bottles of mustard (any brand, squirt bottle please) 
  • 8 jars of mayonnaise (any brand)
  • 250 individual bags of chips (lunch size) 
  • 10 packs of Chips ahoy cookies   
  • 300 bottles of water  
  • 3 packs of napkins of 100 napkins 
  • 250 brown paper lunch bags
  •  2 large box of crayons

       Hot Sub Sandwiches

  • 10 packs of Turkey meatballs 
  • 5 cans of crushed tomatoes 
  • 4 packs of Land O Lakes American Cheese
  • 250 individual bags of chips (lunch size) 
  • 250 bottles of water  
  • 3 pack of napkins of 100 napkins 
  • 250 brown paper lunch bags
  •  2 large box of crayons

We are often (and we LOVE it) asked, “How can we help?”

So here are the many ways you can help EP:

1) Like the Facebook page (sponsors Lunch)

2) Send non-perishables to (potato chips, water, cookies, brown paper bags, crayons, markers, napkins, aluminum foil, clothing):

Elisha Project
65 Newport Avenue, Suite 6
Rumford, RI 02916

3) Donate to EP online @ DiggingDitches.com

You have the ability to make a one-time donation or sign up for a *$20.00 per month gift (auto-billed).
$2.00 = 1 Lunch
*a $20.00 monthly gift pays for 10 meals (THAT’S HUGE)

4) Experience EP Saturdays in person by contacting us via email

5) Spread the Word to all your friends and families

6) Start an EP chapter where you live. Ask us how by sending an email requesting information here.

7) All of the Above.

Give. Live. Live.

Every week we capture as much as we can in the form of pictures and video so we can share the experience with you.

Please feel free to browse through the different weeks and look at:

  • Sponsored Bags (Designed and Colored by 1 Big Child and many small ones)
  • The Streets (as we interact with our community family on the street)
  • The Prep (the hard part is always making, bagging, and making sure that the kids don’t eat the cookies)

If you would like to contact us, email us: The Elisha Project

God Bless You!!!

Give. Love. Live.

Please enjoy the pictures of Week 26!!!

Please click on the picture below to view collection

Please click on the picture below to view the collection

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Please click on the picture below to see the collection

Please click on the picture to see the collection

Week 17 happened to be Thanksgiving weekend and we were joined by our resident shutterbug – Erik & Jaime Lind.

Click on the picture below to view all the pictures from week 17.

Enjoy an inspirational week!!!

Please click on the picture to see all the photos for Week 27

Enjoy Week 29

Please click on the picture to see the collection

Please click on the picture to see the collection

    Title                         Date                       servant

“Humble”                 Sept. 1, 2013        EP Ministries

You can email us at: Elisha Project or send mail/donations to:

The Elisha Project

65 Newport Avenue #6

Rumford, RI 02916

Make checks payable to:  The Elisha Project

Thank you and God bless you.

You can also donate online through PayPal by clicking the button on the home page.

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Go Make the Valley Full of Ditches

Ready 2 Live for someone else!