Michigan Church Connects to Community Through Benevolence Program
by: Stafford North | November 19, 2012
The 130 member Metro Church of Christ in Sterling, Michigan, has an outstanding benevolence program that has been active for the past six years. We have a food pantry and endeavor to reach as many people as possible, first with food and then with the gospel message.
Our food pantry is called Metro Helping Hands and we are connected through the internet with the United Way 211 emergency assistance program in our area. When United Way receives a call from a family in our area, they review the family needs and refer them to a couple of food pantries near their home. The family calls us for food assistance and we make an appointment for them to come in on Tuesday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Two years ago we received a phone call from Red Lobster Headquarters because of our food assistance, and they are now providing frozen fish and main entrees weekly to be given to those in need along with our own food pantry items.
Since we are connected to United Way, we are able to login and receive information about the families who call for assistance. We can find out who else has helped them with food along with the date, place, number in their family, address, and phone number. As we help them, we also put in data showing that we provided assistance along with the date and place. If the family has never received help, we then enter all the data we have on the family. This is a great way to reduce the number of people going from place to place as gatherers of food. Through this approach, we are truly reaching those who are out of work and who really need emergency food
For the past eight years, we have worked with MCREST (Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team) in housing, feeding, and studying with the homeless. MCREST has hundreds of homeless families they move from church to church weekly throughout the year. Every year we set up our classrooms and house about thirty people whom we mentor with two hot meals per day, do their laundry, take them to the high school for showers, socialize, and study with them every day in our church building. This program takes a minimum of eighty volunteers for a week and, since we are a small congregation we team up with another church in the area.
Connecting with local organizations to find and to track those needed continual help is a good plan and so is the plan for having a time of day for study. To contact the Metro Church of Christ, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.