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Parish in need of food, volunteers

August 10, 2013
By The Rev. Alicia Rapking Upshur Parish House Director , The Inter-Mountain

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be a part of the mission team from Chapel Hill United Methodist Church as we traveled to Massachusetts to the Heifer International Farm. There we found a beautiful working farm with a wonderful educational component that helped us understand the mission of Heifer International. It was a great experience.

During our time there, we helped with farm chores every morning, including moving sheep and goats from their pens to the meadows for grazing and feeding the other animals which included pigs, lamas, alpacas, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and more chickens. We also helped with service projects, including building pens for and the moving of pigs, working in the organic gardens and working in the flower gardens.

Much of our time was spent learning about the purpose and mission of Heifer International. I will write more about this in the weeks to come. The information that we learned helped us to understand not only the Heifer project, but also the importance of missions locally and globally.

I am certain that those who were a part of that week will have a deeper understanding of any mission trip that they are a part of from now on.

While there and learning about the Heifer project and farm, I found myself asking our leaders a question that I am often asked. It is a question that is important to what we do at any mission project, and it is a question that needs to be asked over and over again because often we forget. The question is: What do you need?

As I thought about asking that question, I decided that it is important that I answer this question for Crosslines/Parish House for right now. What do we need?

We are approaching August. Every August, the shelves of the food pantry are at the lowest throughout the year. We are in need of all kinds of food. Our standard list includes canned soup, crackers, peanut butter and jelly, pasta and sauce, canned vegetables, canned fruit, beans and rice. These are staples, but we can use anything. Also, while we are able to receive some meat from commodities, it is never enough. So we get pretty excited over a donation of meat!

We also try to have laundry detergent and cleaning supplies available. These items are important because SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase these items. Powdered laundry detergent is especially helpful because we can divide it up to help out many people.

Right now we could use extra help in our garden. All the produce we raise in our garden is distributed in the food pantry. August is the month that produces the most from our garden, so we need help with harvesting.

In a few weeks, we will be giving out our backpacks for school. This project will take place Aug. 12-15. We need all kinds of school supplies for this project, including paper, pencils, pencil holders, notebooks, crayons, glue, scissors, pens and new or gently used backpacks.

One other area of need that I will mention is the constant need for volunteers. Volunteers come and go, and we appreciate everyone who helps us. We couldn't run without volunteers. We especially need volunteers at the Clothes Closet. With the big yard sale coming up, we will get more donations after the sale ends. This is the busiest time of the year for the Clothes Closet, and we could use some more volunteers to help with sorting.

Also, we could use several more people in the food pantry. This particular job is most important and includes bagging the food and helping to get the food out to the cars of our neighbors. The more volunteers that we have the better!

I hope this summary will inspire each of you to discover ways to help not only us, but also the other help agencies around. Any help is important and appreciated!

Blessings on each of you!

To God be the Glory!



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