Good Samaritan Adapts to Keep Serving

Good Samaritan Adapts to Keep Serving 293 269 Episcopal Community Ministries

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me
Matthew 25:32

For several years the Church of the Good Samaritan in Amelia has held community suppers on the last Friday of each month. The suppers not only provide a nourishing meal to our neighbors in need, but also address additional physical needs through our emergency food pantry, and spiritual needs through an evening of fun and fellowship. A group of 50 to 60 persons usually attend.

With the onset of Covid-19, we were forced to cancel our supper for March and consider how we could meet at least some of the needs we see in our community. We decided to try to operate the food pantry on a drive-up basis. Whereas the usual procedure had been to set out the food and cleaning supplies and let our guests take what they needed, we switched to filling bags and putting them into peoples’ cars.   The bags are packed at the church the Wednesday night before distribution; the drive-up food pantry is held Friday night 5-6PM.

For March, we filled 20 bags. Because we were late in getting the word out, we had a small response and wound up delivering bags to people we knew to be in need. We tweaked our procedures in April to increase the content of the bags and to get the word out more widely. Our next distribution took place on May 1. We distributed 30 bags to drive up guests, and delivered 5 more to people we knew to be in need.

The suppers remain on hold until we feel it is safe to gather a group of 50 or more. In the meantime, we are devoting more of our resources to the food pantry. Our next distribution will take place on May 29. We will have at least 35 bags available, and the number of items in each bag was be greater than last time.

Each family was given bags with the following food supplies:

  • 1 snack bag (5 items – fruit snacks, granola bars, cereal bars, hot cereal packets)
  • 1 main course (beef stew, noodles and sloppy joe mix, or pizza kit)
  • 1 dozen homemade cookies
  • 1 box cereal
  • 1 can chicken, 1 can tuna
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • 2 cans pasta,1 package spaghetti, 2 packages macaroni & cheese or pasta
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 can pork and beans, 1 can chili
  • 2 cans vegetables, 1 packet mashed potatoes
  • 1 can soup
  • 1 can fruit
  • 2 packages Ramen
  • 1 4 pack pudding snacks

Guests were also supplied with the following cleaning supplies and personal care products.

  • Bottle of shampoo
  • Bars of soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Tube of toothpaste
  • Laundry detergent

We anticipate that the need for this ministry will continue, and that as the word spreads we will see more of our neighbors in need.

– Peter Tennant, Food Pantry Team, 5/26/20