More on how parishes around the diocese are responding to community needs during the pandemic
St. Luke’s Burlington
Our Food for Life program continues to reach out weekly to friends in our community who are food challenged. As we navigate these uncharted waters, our program looks very different than in the past and perhaps this might become the “new normal” for some time to come. Our partners at Food for Life now deliver pre-bagged groceries to us on a Tuesday morning. Last week the thirty-five bags included fruit, vegetables, and a yogurt, while this week we were able to add bread and meat. The volunteers and I set up our station in the foyer of the Parish Hall and one person at a time enters. They take their package from a table and leave while a volunteer outside monitors physical distancing with those who are waiting, allowing the next person to enter. The feedback from our friends has been very positive and we are all so grateful to continue to provide food to our neighbours.
The Rev. Deacon Sheila Plant
St. Christopher’s, Burlington
At Open Doors of St. Christopher’s, we closed all our community programming but kept the Food Bank open one day per week. As we began to navigate the new normal of physical distancing, we recognized there were those in our community who were especially vulnerable. We provided pre-boxed food hampers served outside, distancing markers, increased sanitizing efforts, and a small operational crew. As we served the community in these new ways, we observed that the majority of those being served fit the COVID-19 vulnerable categories. Open Doors and the Burlington Food Bank then decided to partner to deliver these food hampers to guests, further limiting the physical contact or traveling needed to access food.
As changes have occurred, we now share our resources with the Burlington Food Bank. Our role involves identifying our most vulnerable guests, getting them service ASAP, and recruiting volunteers, funding streams, and distribution and supply chains. We are also allowing the Open Doors Food Bank to be used as a storage and staging facility, creating communication pieces to support and inform as best we can, and in other ways that develop over the weeks.
To understand the impact we face, we previously served an average of 360 households per month. In March, in collaboration with Burlington Food Bank we served 450 households. We anticipate this number to double in April and are unsure of what May will bring. In this short time, both Open Doors and Burlington Foodbank staff and volunteers have felt a sense of strength and preparedness because we have each other to rely on. It is crucial that we all look for ways to collaborate in our communities and share resources, now more than ever.
Christina Mulder, Director of Open Doors Programs and Partnerships
Is your parish supporting the community in new or re-imagined ways? We would love to continue sharing stories of parishes being the face of Jesus during the pandemic. Send your stories to Christyn Perkons below: