Food Ministry

Outreach at St. Paul’s

Smilebox_23180605St. Paul’s has a long history of outreach; that is, ministry to those in need.  We have been known in the community for the Diaper Bank ministry, which was started in 2010.  By 2014, it had outgrown us – a great development – and applied for and was granted its own 501c3 status.  As the Diaper Bank made the transition from being a ministry of the parish to a separate (and larger, more effective organization), parishioners spent a year in discernment to discover a new mission and ministry.

The result of that discernment was the recognition of hunger and food issues right here in McHenry, and that the City of McHenry is not as well served by food pantries as other parts of the county.  In order to address some of these needs, we started small with a couple of food drives; one for the veteran’s food pantry at Transitional Living Services (TLS) and another for the FISH food pantry in Johnsburg.  At the same time, we began what we hope will become a tradition here… we call it: “Feed ourselves/Feed others.”  Which is to say, whenever we come together to eat, whether it’s a social event or a parish meeting that includes a covered dish meal, we bring food items to donate to FISH or TLS.

Then we began to dream a little bigger.  That dream came to life (for the first time, but not the last) on Saturday, May 30th, 2015, as we hosted the Mobile Food Pantry, a service of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.  Along with the other two Episcopal churches in McHenry County, St. Mary’s in Crystal Lake and St. Ann’s in Woodstock, we collected the $1200 cost for the truck, which brings $8000 worth of food: frozen meat, fresh produce, and non-perishables, all of which was distributed by 30 volunteers to over 100 people.  They came on foot or in cars; some elderly, some disabled, some with families.  No questions asked.  This is a ministry of pure generosity and hospitality.  And we can’t wait to do it again!  We aim to host food trucks at least three times a year.

This is all part of our growing understanding of what God is calling us to do and who God is calling us to be in this time and this place.  We don’t want to just come to church… we want to be the church!  If this sounds like something you’d like to explore, come check us out.