In the early weeks of this pandemic, long before we knew how long the road ahead of us was (something we still don’t know) the vestry discussed two questions: How do we support those in our parish whose economic life has been affected by the pandemic? And how do we support those in our community whose lives are affected by the pandemic?
I hope you all know by now that the answer to the first question is that we have set up a parishioner relief fund. I remind you that if you find yourself in financial difficulty you can call me. The process is that I ask Lee, our treasurer to transfer money from the fund into my discretionary account so that I can write a check. That’s it. No applications, no paperwork, no need to tell your story to anyone beyond me.
In response to the second question the vestry set up a community food pantry fund. We have given $15,000 from church outreach funds to the two PopUp Food Pantries in Sandy Springs, the Emmaus House food pantry, and another area community pantry.
In addition to that you have donated financially to these efforts. Because of your donations we have been able to give $2,500 to each of the PopUp pantries. And we also use the money you give to do food shopping. Some weeks we shop for non-perishable food items to supplement the mountains of donations you have brought to the church over these last months. Sometimes the pantries put out the word that they need someone to make a run to Walmart to buy perishable items. I did that last week, buying 15 large bags each of onions, apples, and oranges. And while I was there I added five cases of diapers and two cases of wipes to the cart. (See the attached picture).
These all-volunteer run pantries are committed to staying open for the duration of the pandemic, and we are committed to supporting them. So please know that your financial contributions and your donations of food items are greatly needed and greatly appreciated.
And a huge thank you to Elise MacIntyre, who loads up her car every week with the items you have brought to the church and delivers them to the pantry. The pantries could always use volunteers to stock items and serve customers, and to make deliveries to families who have no transportation. If you are interested in helping that way let me know.
A recent story in The New York Times underscores the importance of what we are doing. America at Hunger’s Edge is an in-depth look, through words and pictures, of the food crisis many in our country are experiencing. One in eight families in this country do not have enough to eat. In Mississippi the number is one in four.
The term for that is “food insecurity” — meaning that children and adults go to bed at night not knowing if they will have enough to eat the next day. Often what they do have to eat is not healthy.
The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, but it didn’t create it. Food insecurity has long been a hidden part of life for many Americans. The pandemic has worsened it and brought it to the forefront of our attention.
Of course, food pantries are a bandaid to a much deeper problem. But they are important triage in a crisis. Bandaids can save lives in the short term.
So thank you for all that you have done and are continuing to do to feed our neighbors. What could be more Christ-like than that?
Here is the link to the Times’ story:
And attached is the service sheet for Compline this week.
See you online tonight at 8.
This is what five cases of diapers, two cases of wipes, and 15 bags each of apples, oranges, and onions looks like.