Written by: Kate Snyder, Development and Donor Communications Coordinator
Local congregations show their love for East End Cooperative Ministry in lots of ways: from financial contributions to food drives to volunteerism to donating the space in which we operate. It's all hugely important, but in my humble opinion, nothing says lovin' quite like thoughtful outreach.
When congregations take the time to:
a) Find out what it is that EECM truly needs at the moment, and
b) Integrate their project to meet that need into the life of the church, then
c) Great things happen.
The most recent example of this is the new ongoing food drive launched by Third Presbyterian Church. They have decided to link food collection to their monthly communion service. As they put it -- "The principle behind this approach is that as we share the Communion meal together within our community of faith, we should share a meal with others outside our walls."
That's pretty deep. I love it.
The folks at Third Pres are taking it a step further and actually weaving the "ingathering" of food into the worship service. The children are encouraged to bring the items forward during the service and the food itself serves as the focal point of the Children's Moment.
Third Presbyterian's Council of Congregations representative also sat down with us to find out what food items were most needed at the Pantry. They thought (rightly!) that giving their congregants a few items to focus on would make the food drive easier. There's something overwhelming about being told to just "bring in food." Having a few specific items gives people a sense of purpose.
We decided on protein items -- canned tuna, peanut butter, and dried or canned beans -- as these are staples included in each Pantry bag and also provide a lot of "bang for your buck."
The first Communion Sunday ingathering took place on March 6th and collected 120 items for the EECM Food Pantry. What a terrific start to a project that will really make a difference.