Collecting and connecting for the good of your neighbours

Use your church or school as a community drop-off for your local food bank and connect with the people who donate!

Canadian communities are experiencing increases in the number of people relying on food banks. Some congregations operate their own food banks, others assist with community food banks by collecting or helping sort and package food in the facility.

This Advent season, why not cooperate with your local food bank and offer your church or school as a community drop-off for non-perishable food items? Not only would it introduce people to your church or school premises but, more important, it provides opportunities for congregation members to reach out to those in need with the love of Christ, make connections with people in the community, and share the real meaning of Christmas.

“This service helps the congregation to focus on our holistic mission as caring for the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbours,” noted Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, Lutheran Church–Canada’s executive for mission and social ministry. “It is certainly a blessing for all. It echo’s Jesus’ words, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’ (Matthew 25:35-36).

All you need is a large container to hold donations. Members can volunteer to staff the drop-off location, greet donors, offer some coffee or hot chocolate and share information about Christmas services, the real meaning of Christmas and ongoing activities at the church. A selection of DVDs (ie: The Story of Jesus for Children) could also be available, along with LHM Project Connect booklets, especially The Meaning of Christmas.

You can establish specific hours for drop-off, including Sundays, even during service times. Then greeters would have the opportunity to ask people to join the Sunday morning service!

The church will need to arrange with the food bank a time for you to take the donations to its main location or for them to pick-up donations so the food items are in the system as soon as possible.

Work with your local media to let people know that you are providing a local drop-off location for the food bank.

While Christmas is a favourite time for this kind of project, congregations could maintain the system throughout the year.

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