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Plenty of opportunities for charitable work

Susan Hutchison poses with bags of donated food items headed to the food bank. [Sean Heeger]

With more and more people finding themselves on hard times because of the virus pandemic, there are those in the community who are taking it upon themselves to step up and find ways to support the less fortunate. Creekside Church recently completed a project of their own, this one aimed at helping the local food bank.

The church decided to launch what they called a Shop N Drop food drive, asking the congregation and members of the community to help them collect 5,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

The group saw that there was a need within the community and decided to run the food drive from May 19 to 21 asking people to donate what they can to help make an impact.

“One of our passions or values is to be present and involved meaningfully in neighbourhoods that need help,” said Rob Gast, pastor of outreach and welcome with Creekside. “As soon as the lockdown happened, we as the pastors wanted to know a lot of things (like) how could we keep our own church connected and moving ahead and how could we help serve in our communities.”

He says the food bank sends regular weekly trucks into the area every Thursday to help families in need and they felt during this time it was beneficial for all to run the food drive.

When they looked into what was the best way for them to be able to put food on the table for needy families, they came up with something super practical for people in need, he added.

To encourage church members to join in the efforts, Gast says they set fun goals such as having a pie thrown in his face, and one pastor saying he would dye his hair blue. Whether this helped them or not, their goal was not only met, but exceeded in many ways.

“Our final tally officially is 5,333 pounds. On the three days cars just kept pulling up (and) people seemed really eager to just even get out and do a drop of some things,” said Gast.

The church also made it easier for people who were unable or too nervous to get out by arranging porch pickups.

In addition to the food collected, Creekside also pledged to donate $1 for every pound of food up to 2,500 pounds. Gast says they have decided to up that number and they’re now “essentially donating dollar for pound” by giving $5,000 to the food bank.

We thought this would be an added incentive if people knew that their giving would have a direct impact and we would help match it, said Gast.

He says he heard back from the food bank and because of their efforts, 19,347 meals will be provided to people in need thanks to the donations and food collected.

Gast says he’s amazed by people’s generosity during this time and he believes the church will host another food drive as the need is there and people are eager to help anyway they can.

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