+Rev. Dee Pederson, D.Min., Director for Evangelical Mission
One of the powerful ways this truth has been lived out in the COVID-19 crisis is: “generosity.” As unemployment soared and demands on food pantries increased, generous donors across the ELCA contributed $1.6 million to the ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund. This generosity has come to our synod as a grant for $7,500.00 that was shared through an application process with the following ministries:
- Green Lake Lutheran Ministries – $1,000.00
- Lake Shetek Ministries – $1,000.00
- Shalom Hill Farm Retreat Center – $500.00
- First Lutheran Church, Cosmos – $250.00 – Stocking a Little Free Food Pantry
- Peace Lutheran Church, Cold Spring – $500 – Providing gift cards, food, cleaning supplies, and medicine supplies for a local food shelf
- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud – $500.00 – Purchasing supplies for 408 snack bags, meals to help feed people, helping to provide motel housing for people who are homeless and vulnerable for COVID
- First Lutheran Church, Worthington – $500.00 – Purchasing food for food boxes delivered to quarantined families and to school lunch sites
- House of Grace, Montrose – $750.00 – Supporting the distribution of rescue-food and produce, face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer
- Faith Lutheran Church, Becker – $1,000.00 – Supplying 24 baby kits, 24 food kits distributed over 2 days in front of the church and providing assistance for snacks for children at school
- First Lutheran Church, St. James – $1,500.00 – Purchasing gift cards and food that will support families on the margins and immigrant-owned Latinx grocery businesses
That’s generosity from people across the ELCA, making a difference in the lives of over 600 families across our synod through your ministries! We are so grateful! It’s a present-day story of generosity, like that of the Macedonian Christians who shared relief efforts for the church in Jerusalem so long ago.
(2 Corinthians 8 & 9)
The miracle of generosity, of course, is its impact on those who receive AND on those who share. We asked congregations who received ELCA COVID-19 grants to provide reflections from people who were part of this effort, and this is just some of what we heard:
I’m so blessed to be here right now. I’ve been without a job for a long while and this will help a lot. God sent me here to get food and baby supplies for my two little children. We really need formula bad.
I’m here to pick up food for four different families in real need. I’m taking them to my grandkids. I’m not being greedy or anything. I’m just here to pick up for my family who can’t get here on their own. Thank you for everything you’ve done!
– Baby/ Food Kit Distribution, First Lutheran, Becker
As a retired farmer living on a very fixed income, this produce and dairy was a God-send. Thank you!”
My spouse and I have been unable to work since March, thank you for helping us feed our family.”
– House of Grace, Montrose, MN
One man told me that the hardest part of being homeless was the disrespect people would show. Often if walking down the street, some people would quickly move to the opposite side, just because he didn’t have as clean of clothes as most people….The people I had the privilege of serving were so thankful of us being there, serving them food, and taking the time to visit with them.
– Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud
No one was home at one of the homes, so we called the Mom and found out they were on their way home from Mankato so we left the food and envelope on the bench in front of the house. Later that evening the mom called Teresa explaining they were in Mankato for COVID testing because her husband has COVID so the rest of the family needed to be tested and thanked her…. crying, “God is always there for us.
We are very grateful for the assistance [the women] provided us. They translated our message of care and concern into Spanish and accompanied us to deliver the gifts personally. As trusted individuals in the Latinx community, they were an invaluable resource to identify the neediest of families, coordinate the delivery of the gift cards and gift certificates, reassuring the recipients that they were indeed gifts, with no strings attached, and allowing us the privilege of meeting these neighbors in person.
– First Lutheran, St. James
I was able to hand out bags of groceries at a summer lunch site in Worthington. I offered the groceries to every person who came for a free lunch and only three declined the food. I was able to give away 18 bags of groceries in about 30 minutes. Everyone who left with food had a smile on their face. What I also noticed was as much as the food was appreciated, so was the kindness and conversation between community members.
– First Lutheran Church, WorthingtonScripture reminds us: When one member of the body of Christ suffers, all suffer together. The needs are great. So are the opportunities. Thank you for sharing your gifts with our church and our neighbors nearby and around the world.