When a parishioner who is much smarter than me asked me what we do for the food pantries in the area to ensure food is available to those that need it, I quickly answered that there were many opportunities to support those causes. He pressed me and said, “what if we could help them all the time, rather than annually, or whenever there was enough food dropped off?” He then handed me a story of a church in California performing “A Simple Gesture”, a persistent food gathering and distribution function. It could not be more simple or effective. Parishioners would take the responsibility for filling a grocery bag every other month with essential items food pantries require. Children can help their parents by dropping a can of beans into the bag, learning how even a small effort can help those in need. Those on fixed income can still support the effort with a box of rice or cereal. It is visceral and direct to shop for items and brings you closer to those you are helping. Then, a reminder will be sent out a week before pickup and everyone would bring their bag (as full or not so full as they could in that timeframe) to the church, and we would provide them with their next bag, using the filled bags to bring the food to Guadalupe Social Services, Saint Vincent DePaul, and Saint Matthew’s House. There, the bags will be unloaded and the food given away, and the cycle can repeat over and over again. It is what we are called to do and what is core to the Saint John Mission: To Serve.
The Ladies of Charity have taken this idea and will be assisting with the full roll-out in the Fall, but in order to make sure we can support the Food Pantries when they are in desperate need in the Summer, I would like to give the full-timers a chance to get their bags early and start the program for a June food delivery.
By RSVPing below, you acknowledge the responsibility for providing food based on the list provided with the bag every other month. Saint John will contact you prior to the drop-off date so you can be reminded to bring your bag to the church for inclusion in the food distribution: