A Year of Being Kind blog –Friday, March 21, 2014
Filling Hungry Stomachs? Being Kind!
This month of March has five Saturdays. That means St. Peter’s UCC Church in Skokie is getting ready to prepare and serve a hot dinner for the Community Kitchen at A Just Harvest! Yes, every month with a fifth Saturday is St. Peter’s turn to serve. The pastor, Rev . Richard Lanford, along with the food coordinator Sue Bailey and the volunteer/server coordinator Beth Lanford, facilitate the ministry at the church to fill hungry stomachs in Chicago.
This partnership with A Just Harvest has been active for 30 years. Years ago, the congregation at St. Peter’s Church supplied a hot meal for the Kitchen once a month. Now, they still serve, but not as often. Every fifth Saturday. And what is served to these hungry people? A hot meal, including bread, cookies and something nourishing to drink. Recently, it’s been sloppy joes. Ground beef mixed with onions, celery, pepper, sweet relish, and a whole host of different spices. (Makes me hungry just thinking about it!)
But, just what is “A Just Harvest,” anyway?
This ministry gives people an additional resource against hunger. It’s located in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Formerly known as Good News Community Kitchen, A Just Harvest was founded by the Good News Community Church in Chicago and First Congregational Church of Wilmette. These two congregations began serving a weekly meal – each contributing food and volunteers. By 1991, A Just Harvest was serving dinner seven nights a week. They are partners with more than 35 religious congregations and community organizations.
A Just Harvest makes certain that—on most any night—as many as 200 people (mostly from the city of Chicago, but also from the Chicagoland area) are fed and get enough to eat. The most the volunteers have served on a particular night is 229! But those numbers don’t tell the full story. A Just Harvest is there, in Rogers Park, for people from all walks of life. Many and varied reasons exist for people to suddenly become homeless. This ministry is here for anyone from any walk of life. People can be confronted by choices: the choice between paying the rent, or putting food on the table. Or, paying for necessary medication, and getting enough to eat.
This ministry is also involved in various other kinds of good works. They provide things that homeless people or people who have lost their jobs really need! What about workers, who don’t make quite enough to carry them through until the next paycheck? (The ones whose jobs don’t pay enough to cover basic needs?) Plus, providing for children who are either in poverty, or almost to that poverty line, displays God’s provision and encouragement.
St. Peter’s congregation members and friends serve dinner, true. But they do a whole lot more, just by faithfully showing up. Thank God for faithful congregations like St. Peter’s! And, God bless A Just Harvest, their staff and clients, And may God bless the many good, kind gifts the ministry receives every day.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.