Christmas Hampers 2013
Of the various collaborative projects that TrueCity facilitates the Christmas hampers initiative gives the clearest picture of the power of churches working together. Ten churches from neighbourhoods across the whole city using their capacity to bless the communities they are a part of and beyond. It is in this initiative that we see how churches from the North End to Waterdown, from Mountcrest to Meadowlands, from Riverdale to Heritage Green can learn from and resource each other to better engage their neighbourhoods with a tangible demonstration of the love of Jesus.
As has been the case for each of the past three years, this year’s Christmas Hamper project expanded the capacity of our congregations to provide 500 hampers to those in need –in our neighbourhoods, in our churches, and among our friends:
The phone calls started coming into Hughson Street Baptist Church on November 1st from families in the North End who could use an extra hand at Christmas with some food and toys. Six weeks later we had received hundreds of calls. On Saturday December 21st there were 337 hampers ready to be delivered from our “warehouse”. With the help of Hughson, Lightway, Meeting House West, First CRC, and Philpott, all the food boxes were delivered. New City church also prepared and delivered another 47 hampers to families who had called Hughson looking for help! We couldn’t have done it alone.
And as always there were powerful stories of connections, of learning, and of opportunities to remember clearly why we celebrate this holy day of Christmas.
- The school principal from one of the neighbourhood schools came to help run the toy store at Hughson Street Baptist. Her deep compassion for the children, all of whom she knew by name, touched the volunteers. At the end of the evening she shared how powerful being part of the event was for her, expressing deep gratitude for how the church cares for families in the neighbourhood.
- A group from Grindstone connected with Adelaide Hoodless Elementary School through the backpack delivery in September was looking for a way to bless the school for Christmas. Grindstone didn’t have the resources to put together hampers of their own, so Mount Hamilton gave them some of the hampers they had assembled to pass along. The families and leadership of the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre at Adelaide were so grateful and said, “It’s like Christmas!”
- Hamilton became a little more like home for 25 refugee families from Micah House, as members from the Meeting House delivered hampers that opened a window on how Canadians celebrate Christmas. It added some warmth to their first Christmas in this strange new land of cold and ice.
- One of the volunteers at Mount Hamilton Baptist decided he wanted to add an extra blessing to the hampers they were giving out so he purchased a pack of bacon to add to each of their hampers. It turned out that his generosity communicated more powerfully than even he imagined as numerous recipients commented on the joy of finding bacon in their hamper.
Once again this year those of us involved were struck by how this initiative connects with those giving and those receiving in deep and powerful ways that bring home the reality of God’s love and open the doors for relationship.