Food Pantry Garden
Here is a story that ran on the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago blog:
We Love to Eat !
Maybe your church is like ours: we love to eat.
St. Ann’s parishioners have transformed the concept of “church potluck” into an exquisite art form. It seems like so many of our events and activities include the enjoyment of a shared meal. Gourmet is our middle name.
A few years ago, while engaged in parish soul-searching about possible new outreach ministries, the Outreach Committee astutely observed that food and St. Ann’s go hand in hand. They said, “Why not develop an outreach ministry related to food and eating?” Someone else chimed in that many of us are interested in gardening. Consequently, the outreach ministry focus turned to GROWING food. The influence of our Green Group was also noted, when someone threw in the challenge of organic/sustainable gardening practices as a part of the mix.
The Outreach Committee put it all together and began exploring: What ministries lie at the intersection of sustainability, gardening and feeding the hungry? And oh, did I mention that PRAYER is important at St. Ann’s? An outreach ministry that blends all of the above: getting on our knees, food, gardening and sustainability. What more could we ask? Perhaps, something in which every age-group may participate? After research and deliberation, the Outreach Committee suggested the perfect mixture and our parish Prayer Garden resulted: green beans, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, potatoes, herbs, peppers, berries . . . you name it, we probably grow it.
They tell us that One out of six Americans needs food assistance, but cannot get fresh produce from the local food pantry) (http://www.ampleharvest.org/hunger.php). So, THIS is where St. Ann’s decided to get involved. The Vestry dedicated a portion of our parish lawn to an Outreach Prayer Garden. We purchased a roto-tiller and the rest is history. Volunteers contribute the supplies, seeds, plants and labor—and God generously provides the harvest.
For the past three years, our volunteers have planted, nurtured and harvested a Prayer Garden of bounty from which we contribute bushel after bushel to our local Food Pantry. The produce is a very much-welcomed seasonal addition to the canned goods and other products that parishioners contribute to the Food Pantry throughout the year. Every Sunday we say what we mean: “All things come of Thee, O Lord; and of Thine own have we given Thee.” Thanks be to God. Amen.