It has been a tradition at St. Barnabas from well before my time here to have a pot-luck lunch on Thanksgiving Sunday and at this lunch to raise money for the Christmas Hamper ministry. The Christmas Hamper ministry has become an extension of our Friday Communion, for the gift of the hampers allow many of the individuals and families that have become an important part of our Friday service to provide a festive Christmas meal that they otherwise would not be able to enjoy.
Last Christmas, thanks to the generosity of the parish and to Robbie Birch and her team of helpers, we served 33 families and 6 individuals with hampers: over 100 adults and 51 children. Included in the hampers were either a turkey or ham, fresh produce such as Brussel sprouts, carrots, potatoes, and Mandarin oranges, deserts, clothing and other gifts for children under 18, and coffee gift cards for individual adults. The total cost was $1,200 – so we need to raise at least this amount this year again. In addition to monetary gifts by parishioners, local grocery stores such as Wellburn’s and Thrifty’s were generous with food donations, and some parishioners also donated ‘in kind’ the gifts for the children. So as you can see, in order to be successful this ministry must be a parish-wide effort!
So please give generously at lunch today (you can always put a cheque or cash in one of the envelopes in the pews and mark it ‘Christmas Hampers.’). And aside from money gifts, please come and get to know some of the individuals who gratefully receive of this ministry. If you have never joined in the Friday Communion, I encourage you to do so. Worship starts at 9:00. Afterwards, come over for Coffee and Conversation at Emmaus House. It is a great way to get to know some of our neighbours who also count St. Barnabas as their home. When the call goes out closer to December, consider too volunteering as a ‘buyer and collector’ (hunting turkeys is frowned upon at Thrifty’s) of food and/or gifts. And definitely come and help distribute the hampers on the day. When Jesus commanded his disciples, “love your neighbour,” he surely meant not only that we are to give of our abundance to those in need, but also that we are to meet them as flesh-and-blood people: hand to hand, face to face, name to name.
Have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving!