Every year at this time, for almost twenty years, dozens of St. Stephen’s members have skipped church to chop onions, plate salads, ladle soups and feed over 500 people a hot meal across town at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.
For us it’s an annual service project but, in fact, the “Feed the Hungry” program happens every Sunday year-round, engaging thousands of volunteers, some from churches and some from businesses and community service organizations throughout the city.
Not only do we provide a small multi-generational army of enthusiastic chefs and servers, we also raise the funds to pay for the meal. So two of our monthly Special Outreach Envelopes (formerly known as “Pink Envelopes”) are designated for this work, raising over $2000 a year.
The need is obvious among our city’s most impoverished people—those without homes, without jobs, and without a place to belong. But the effects of the weekly meal go beyond a hot Sunday meal: those thousands of volunteers are meeting poverty face to face, hearing the stories, breaking down the walls of “us and them”, and creating the desire to end urban poverty and homelessness. Especially for children
and young people, the program provides a safe “exposure tour” of the social needs of a big city, and a practical, compassionate, Christian response.
To learn more, go to www.feedthehungrycalgary.ca. Or speak with Blake Kanewischer, St. Stephen’s’ “Feed the Hungry” coordinator. Or, better still, sign up for next year’s dinner. It’s a life-changer … for all of us.