In the last 10 days, it feels like we’ve experienced ten years’ worth of “change.” Everything feels different and there is no road map, no manual, no GPS system to help us navigate it.
I’ve made a commitment to keeping you informed as to what is going at church and how we are responding to this crisis. So I wanted to give you a quick update:
At times like this, when it is difficult to determine what we can count on and plan for, and we know that we are headed into uncharted waters (which always causes some anxiety), we look to make sure that we are still connected to each other and to the God who walks with us.
“And they asked Jesus, ‘What is the greatest of the commandments?’ And Jesus said ‘There are two: First, love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (paraphrased from Matthew 22:36-39)
So we’re pivoting.
The question we have been understandably asking ourselves in the last week or two has been “What’s happening to us? To my family? To me?” Those are important questions for us to figure out.
And now we need to shift the questions to: “What is happening to those around me?” And “How can I show…and be…this love?”
And there are some remarkable ways that together, as the Body of Christ, we can answer these new questions.
- We are expanding the “Wildcat Pantry” program from one day a week to 3 days a week. For years, families of children in need who attend Wilson Elementary have come to church to pick up boxes of food to assist them in getting through the weekend, when the free and reduced school lunch program is not available. While we know the school lunches will still be available, that doesn’t help the whole family. Expanding our program during this time will provide necessary nutrition.
- But to do this, we will need additional help. We need 5-6 volunteers every shift to take the food order forms, fill the boxes and take them out to the cars. (We will do this while maintaining physical distance for safety reasons.) If you are willing to help with this, please call the church office.
- We will also need additional food donated. Especially we’ll need pasta, peanut butter, jelly, granola bars or soup. If you are able to donate items, please bring them to church. We will have baskets set up outside by the main doors. You can drop them off there.
- The Meals of Hope program will continue but will change to a “take out meal.” Every week for years, 60-80 people of low to moderate income have come to Trinity for a meal on Sunday nights. That will continue, but now we will individually box meals and bring them out to these folks at the front door when they pull up, again to create safe physical distance.
- We will continue to provide support for high school young people in need through grocery cards and the Husky Pantry. Yesterday, we released $1500 in emergency financial assistance to the social workers at Owatonna High School for use with their high school students who are classified as “homeless.” We will continue to provide support to them as needed and as we can.And the Husky Pantry is shifting as well. Much of our contact with the young people who were making use of the Husky Pantry was through the Alternative Learning Center and its staff. We’re working now to figure out how we can continue to be of support of these young people when school is not in session. Our hope is to expand access to these food resources.
- And we are increasing our “human support” of Community Pathways (the former Steele County Food Shelf and Clothesline). The food shelf program is in critical need of volunteers to help grab the food items and bring them out to the cars of the clients/guests. They have two shifts a day through the rest of the month. If you are willing and able to give some time, it would be greatly appreciated. You can sign up for a shift here.
And please remember. Our first priority is that you stay safe. If you are one whose health or well-being is vulnerable, please do not volunteer for these tasks.
Caring for those in need is an important part of our ministry, and during this time, we need to make sure that we are looking out for those who are are on the margins in our community.
We do this because we know that in the midst of everything that is going on, God is with us and for us. And because of that great love, we can be for those in need.
We can continue to be #ForOwatonna.
God’s peace! Stay safe, friends!