Good tidings of great joy! We have now entered the season of festivals and feasting — what is, for many, “the most wonderful time of the year.” From Thanksgiving through to Christmas, there seem to be delicious meals around every corner and so very many things to celebrate. But, as you well know, not everyone shares this experience of bounty, nor the joy that so many of us associate with this season. For many who are in need, the coldest months are the most difficult to endure.
It can be startling and uncomfortable for us to remember that one in four Philadelphians is food insecure — which means running out of food, and the money to pay for it, before the end of the month. This number is nearly twice the national and state average. St. Peter’s Food Cupboard has long been on the forefront of providing nutritious, healthy food to Philadelphians in need, helping to reduce hunger among the most vulnerable people in our community. Our ministry is important, and I give thanks to those who generously volunteer their time and those who make financial contributions to the Cupboard.
In this season of giving, the Food Cupboard needs your support so that we can continue to feed those in need, especially seniors and children. We actively apply for grant funding every year, but even in the best of years, many of the costs of running St. Peter’s Food Cupboard can’t be covered by grants or in-kind donations. Things like staffing, gas and insurance for our Mobile Cupboard van, technology, supplies, and environmental initiatives like composting all require money, rather than time or goods. Most of the grant funding we receive can only be used for the purchase of food.
In recent years, congregational giving to the Food Cupboard has declined significantly, and I’m hoping that we can reverse this trend. Between 2011-2015, individual contributions to the Food Cupboard ranged from $14,500 to $22,000 per year. In 2016, the Cubpoard received about $10,000 in contributions. Thus far in 2017, we have received only $5,000. We budget for about $15,000 in giving each year, which means we’re quite far from our target.
Could you do something to help turn this situation around? If 100 parishioners each gave $100 this Advent season, we would end the year in the black. Would you consider being one of those people? Opportunities to give will be plentiful. Food Cupboard Manager Ben Bookman and Food Cupboard volunteers will be available after services on December 3, 10, and 17 to receive donations (via credit card, check, or cash). You can even give in the name of a friend or loved, and you’ll receive a special card to let them know that a gift was given in their name. You can also give online by clicking here, by mailing a check to the parish office, or by placing a check in the offering plate (with Food Cupboard in the memo line).