One of the primary missions of the Woodburn Community of Christ Church is to end hunger. One of the ways that we do this locally is through our congregational support of the Woodburn AWARE Food Bank.
As someone who gives both my time and money to help support the food bank, I see first-hand not only the benefit the food bank provides for the community, but also some areas where we, all people coexisting in one small town, can make an even bigger impact.
It doesnt matter if its a farmer with a truckload of leftover vegetables or someone just cleaning out their cupboards, we are thrilled to know that people will go out of their way to bring any size donation to our door. The downside is that we often get food that is not very nutritional, or food that is perishable and ready to turn if not consumed quickly, such as dairy products which are already past their expiration date.
Some individual donations are difficult for us to give away. As an example, we once received a four-pound can of tuna. Four pounds of tuna will certainly last a while, but its something we cannot break down and repackage. Some of the individual donations are from people who it would seem are merely cleaning out their pantry of food that is outdated or unappetizing. I wouldnt give away food that I wouldnt feed to my own family.
All cash donations are used by the food bank to meet needs on a local level but human resources are scarce and turning your dollars into food takes time and energy. That is why my church chooses to pool our money for the food bank, and make a large purchase two to four times per year. We buy a ton of dried beans and give it directly to the food bank. By doing this, we can increase the value of our gift by saving the volunteers the time of shopping for food.
So what can you do?
Start a drive at your church or club to give to the food bank. It doesnt take a lot of effort to make a difference. As I said, my church manages to give two to four tons of beans to the food bank every year and we have a small congregation. We have a separate basket for the food bank that people drop their spare change into. Nickels and quarters add up! Before we know it, we are on our way to Costco to pick up another ton of beans.
Save your money until you can buy in bulk. Then, give your donation directly to the food bank. Costco has wonderful deals, and they will even help you load your purchase.
Donate foods that have high nutritional value, especially protein, starch, beans, rice, peanut butter, canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables.
Keep in mind the shelf life of what you are donating. We would love to give out fresh eggs and dairy, but we either dont get enough to put some in every cart, or we get more than we can give out before it goes bad. Local dairies and egg farms will give discounts for bulk purchases and may give a larger discount if it is for a food bank. A steady, weekly supply of perishable goods is much better than a single, massive donation of them.
Call and find out what is needed! It would be great if we could get some other churches or groups in town to focus on a specific item and agree to supply that for the food bank. My church has dried beans. What can your church do? If we could get just eight groups in town to focus on one staple, we could ensure that all of our needy families received plenty of the types of foods necessary for a well-balanced, nutritional diet.
Most importantly, remember that every little bit counts. If everyone gave a little, it would make a big difference. The only way you can feed the world is to do it one mouthful at a time.
We cant change the world until we change our minds. Be the first, and others will follow. Let Woodburn be the example for the world.