Discerning God's Vision Together: Thanksgiving Food Box Giveaway
Packing and distributing Thanksgiving Food Boxes to families in need in our area has been a tradition that Neffsville has proudly participated in for many years. This was an amazing opportunity for the youth to serve alongside older generations and for the church as a whole to partner with local organizations. Unfortunately, due to covid, the loss of some previous connections, and the uncertainty of the youth program earlier this year, accomplishing this project in the same way we used to did not seem feasible. Thus, we were faced with the question of whether to cancel it or find another way to deliver boxes of food to our community.
When I got to NMC, I spent some time meeting with youth, advisors, and parents to hear about their experiences with the youth ministry. Several students mentioned how much they enjoyed participating in the packing and distribution of the Thanksgiving Food Boxes. It became clear that finding another way to do this was a priority not only so we could help people, but also in order to give the youth an opportunity to serve others with their own two hands. Thankfully, John Bomberger reached out with the idea to pack our boxes of food with Blessings of Hope (BoH), an organization that feeds people through partnerships with food suppliers and nonprofits. Upon reaching out to BoH, we discovered that they had just launched a Voucher program through which individuals or organizations could purchase vouchers that allow people to pack boxes full of food worth $150+ for only $25 per voucher. Through this we realized that we could purchase vouchers, go and pack the boxes in the BoH distribution center, and then deliver them to communities in need. This solved many problems!
Then, we received $1,250 from an anonymous donor, which was enough money for 50 boxes through the voucher program. I contacted Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services and Tenfold, and through those organizations we received a list of people who might appreciate some extra food near the holiday season. 40 people registered to receive a box.
Finally, on November 17th, a group of about twenty people from NMC (about half of them members of our youth group), met at the new BoH location on Franklin Street. There we packed 40 boxes full of food. These boxes were a mix of helpful groceries and snacks. We then loaded up cars and trucks to be delivered. 27 of the boxes were taken to Nathan’s Village Apartments, a low-income housing community for individuals 65 and older, as well as for those who experience various physical limitations. Almost all of the people were home to receive their boxes, and many of them were very glad and grateful to see the faces of the young people delivering their food.
The remaining 13 boxes were delivered to other families through Tenfold or connected to our church. It was so wonderful to join together and serve in this way! It was also easy and convenient, which means we may be able to do this type of service more often. We have nine vouchers leftover (one was already given to someone in need), which can be given to individuals to go pack a box for themselves, or we can pack the boxes ourselves and give them to those we encounter as we go about our daily lives serving God to the best of our ability.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who contributed your time, effort, and resources to continue this church tradition, even if in a different way. We could not have done it without you! I look forward to repeating this method of love and outreach, as well as continually seeking ways to make it even better. What a glorious way to serve God and people while growing in fellowship with one another!
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