From daily bread to abundant thanks

“People are often overwhelmed with thanks, tears in their eyes, and joy in their hearts as we bring an abundance of food to them.”

The Rev. Chantal McKinney, pastor of Christ’s Beloved Community (CBC), Winston-Salem, shares reactions from neighborhood folks who received food from the CBC food pantry. Amid the difficult news and hardships all around us, there is good news to share in the NC Synod this Easter season! We have eight congregations throughout the synod who received $500 ELCA World Hunger Daily Bread Grants. The congregations who received these grants also raised matching funds and committed to using the money for feeding ministries in their communities. It is a difficult time and many families are struggling to put food on the table, making these feeding ministries crucial to supporting our communities. The congregations which received these grants are Advent, Charlotte; Christ’s Beloved Community/Comunidad Amada de Cristo, Winston-Salem; Christ the King, Cary; Mt. Hermon, Concord; Nativity, Arden; South Durham Connections, Durham; St. Paul, Hamlet; and Trinity, Vale.

Nativity, Arden, and Christ the King, Cary, are using these funds to support their local food banks in a time where the need has increased dramatically. Christ the King has a food donation bin outside the church building and encourages congregants to drop off food as a form offering when they can. Nativity raised $4,280 in 48 hours to support the Calvary Food Pantry in their area.

Some congregations are using these funds to expand their existing food ministries like St. Paul, Hamlet, which already runs a “Feed My Sheep” program that distributes groceries to about 75 families once a month. However, using the Daily Bread Grant, St. Paul can double this ministry and expand to twice a month as the need in Richmond County has increased.

Trinity, Vale, is using the money to sustain their Blessing Box ministry, started by a ten-year-old girl who got the idea after VBS one year. The three-compartment Blessing Box allows folks to borrow books, leave prayer requests, and/or take food. The pandemic has required the food compartment to be stocked sometimes as often as three times a day, so the grant helps to make that possible.

Our synod’s mission developments are among those congregations which received Daily Bread Grant money. They are using it in effective ways to support and expand the feeding ministry they did at their sites even before the pandemic began. The food pantry of Christ’s Beloved Community, Winston-Salem, ran out of food for the first time a few weeks ago as a result of an increase in people coming to receive food. But the response was powerful as local congregations and members of the community rallied together to restock the pantry to the extent that every room in the church was full at one point! The grant and the additional funds raised will help to sustain this ministry so no one will be turned away.

Similarly, the mission congregation, South Durham Connections, operates the Parktown Food Hub in Durham. They are using this grant money to continue the important work they do supporting their community in times of crisis through purchasing Personal Protective Equipment to keep volunteers and clients safe and by purchasing fresh produce. Especially since restaurants are buying less fresh food, this opens avenues for the folks at South Durham Connections to provide their community with fresh healthy food all while keeping food waste down.

As the NC Synod, we give abundant thanks for these funds made available through ELCA World Hunger and for our congregations who are using this grant money to serve their communities through feeding ministries in times of increased need. Additionally, for the gifts you share through your Mission Support—which supports both our mission congregations in NC as well as ELCA World Hunger—thanks be to God!