First Congregational Church of Sharon adds Food Pantry Visit to CROP Walk Route
By Jill Potts,
Member of First Congregational Church of Sharon
On Sunday, Oct 14th, fifteen members of the First Congregational Church of Sharon -- including youth and adults (and Pastor Steve too!) -- attended the South Shore CROP hunger walk in Brockton. CROP Hunger Walks are interfaith hunger education and fundraising events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by CWS/CROP regional offices across the U.S.
On our way over to Brockton, we took a detour, and stopped at the Ilsa Marks Food Pantry in Stoughton to try to give a bit of perspective to the walkers and to reinforce the purpose of our efforts that day. It turned out to be the highlight of the day for many of us.
Members of First Congregational
We were met by a food pantry volunteer who kindly walked us through the pantry as if we were a family looking to receive food. We sat in the small waiting area as the volunteer explained what a typical family who uses the food pantry might be like and how much food they are allowed. Then we were led to the shelves where the families are given direction to choose a certain amount of each item based on their family size.
We asked what foods were most need in need. After the volunteer listed the items that we always hear about (canned meats, tuna, peanut butter), we pressed her to tell us what the families really want. She then mentioned that some of the things that really make a difference and don't last on the shelves are things like coffee, children's cereal, cooking / vegetable oil, protein bars and lunch box snacks. She explained that the last item was needed in order that the kids who frequent the food pantry can feel like all the other kids at the lunch table at school.
This was a 'light bulb moment' for many of us. I believe we all came away from that visit with a much better idea of what hunger in our community really means and how we can all do our part to help.
Pastor Rev. Steven Alspach remarked: "Going to the Ilsa Marks food pantry prior to the Crop Walk helped us to 'put ourselves in the shoes' of those who benefit from the Walk."
After our visit at the pantry, we were off to attend the CROP walk starting and ending at the Christ Church in Brockton. We received a warm welcome and then marched on for our 4-mile walk on what turned out to be a beautiful fall afternoon. Although we did not win the prize for the most walkers or the most money raised (we raised $800!), we knew that our efforts made a difference in many lives.
Jill can be reached at the church office at 781-784-2631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.