St. Thomas, St. Catharines
Our neighbours looked a little perplexed as we lined up 24 paper bags in the driveway behind our car and filled them with cans and packages of food from our trunk. It was our week for providing a nutritional meal for a family of four, to be delivered to Community Care in St. Catharines-Thorold.
Since June, the Greater St. Catharines Social Justice Network (Anglicans in Action) has been encouraging the 10 churches in the local area to become involved in a meal kits program. There is no doubt that during this COVID-19 pandemic, food security has become a major issue with the most vulnerable members of our community, many of whom have faced unemployment or under-employment.
The program involves two essential parts. First, a church needs to elicit donations from its congregation to pay for the non-perishable grocery items that must be purchased. Second, volunteers are needed to do the bulk-buying, (and discovering which supermarkets have the best sales!), stuffing the bags with food, a menu, and cooking instructions, and delivering them to Community Care.
Donations are tax-deductible, and cheques or cash should be collected by individual churches and sent to St. Barnabas Church, who have graciously agreed to handle the tax receipts. (Please, make sure that the Meal Kits program is referenced on the cheque.) Similarly, all grocery receipts are received by St. Barnabas who then reimburse the volunteers.
In my parish of St. Thomas, St. Catharines, many people have recognized the hardships that COVID-19 has inflicted on Niagara families. While they may be unable to do the hard slog of supermarket runs and delivering meal kits to Community Care, they are only too willing to write a cheque to help others.
Community Care reports that the meal kits are hot items and are gone soon after delivery. As of the time of writing, over 1,100 meal kits have been received, and many more would be welcomed.
Churches in the St. Catharines area are encouraged to participate in the meal kits program, and Community Care extends a socially-distanced hug whenever you do so. It’s so easy to become a part of such a worthwhile program: Jan Kaye (St. George’s St. Catharines) and Diane Kidson (St. John’s Thorold) are ready to provide information and can be contacted below.