Lent is a time for giving things up but for the members and disciples of GFA World it is a time of giving back as well. With people in our local community struggling to afford food and basic necessities, we decided to start a food drive to support families in crises throughout the Easter period.
We have had opportunity in the past to connect with the local Food Bank here in Stoney Creek and learned how they are providing essential food, personal hygiene items and compassion to needy families in our community. According to an online Hamilton News article, in 2018, the Food Bank served over 1,000 people in January and February alone.
The people around us are no strangers to need as stated in Hamilton Food Share’s "2018 Hunger Count":
During the 40 days of Lent, we took this time as a group, to use funds that would have normally gone towards our favourite foods or pastimes and instead put them towards purchasing items to support the operation of the Stoney Creek Food Bank. We learned one of the main things the Food Bank is always in need of is personal hygiene items as well as the usual non-perishable food items. From March 6-April 18, a collection of items such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and canned goods slowly grew in the lobby at the GFA World office.
Another opportunity to collect Food Bank donations during this time was our 2nd Annual Easter Community Event on April 13th. Over a hundred people from the Stoney Creek area came out to enjoy the free children’s activities including an Easter Egg hunt, hot chocolate, homemade treats and visiting with their neighbours.
But guests didn’t just come for the free activities, they also took the time to give back to their community, bringing with them a large number of items to donate to the Stoney Creek Food Bank. When promoting our event, we let the community know we would be accepting donations for the Food Bank but weren’t expecting such a generous response. Instead of just bringing one or two items each, many people brought several items or bags full of supplies. Those who weren’t able to bring actual food items made sure to leave a money donation instead.
It was exciting to see that people in Stoney Creek aren’t only aware of those suffering in our neighbourhood but also willing to be part of the solution.
With the need around us only increasing, our desire at GFA World is to be a part of bringing Hope to those who are hurting. As an organization, we not only serve to alleviate poverty in countries across the world but also right here in our own community. It is a blessing for us to come alongside others, like the Stoney Creek Food Bank or the local citizens we met at our Easter event, who are already doing so much to meet the needs of hurting families here in Stoney Creek.