This Lenten season, the people of St Luke's were asked to help our community by sharing from our own abundance. We chose a different challenge for our parishioners each week. Our Sunday school helped fill in pieces of a puzzle that went from very little food on a plate, to an abundance of food on that same plate each week.
The first Sunday in Lent we collected personal care items for phoenix house. Phoenix house serves at risk and homeless youth. Their goal is to help break the cycle of homelessness and help these youth find a better path in life.
Our second Sunday in Lent, we asked if people could help the Mission to Seafarers by donating warm clothing. Sailors arrive from warmer climates to our port in Halifax without the proper supplies to combat our cold winter. These donations help make life more comfortable to many strangers in our port for during the cold season, which seemed to go on a lot longer than usual this year!
Our abundance challenge for the third Sunday in Lent was to collect a specific type of yarn that is used to knit blankets for homeless people. A group of seniors from Melville Heights will use the yarn to knit squares for these blankets that will be distributed through local shelters to the homeless. Not only do these blankets help keep the homeless warm during the cold seasons, it has the added benefit of providing the seniors the opportunity to continue to use their talents to serve our community and enjoy social time together.
The challenge for the fourth Sunday in Lent was to assist Halifax Humanities 101. Halifax Humanities 101 is a program that helps people to gain control over their lives through study of traditional Humanities disciplines. A former student at St. Luke’s, Nicholas Hatt, is a volunteer teacher, offering classes in the Old Testament and early Christianity. Halifax Humanities 101 asked us to help by providing bus tickets and non-perishable refreshments. The bus tickets are given to the students to help them get to classes, and the non-perishable refreshment donations allow the organization to use their own resources to purchase healthier fresh snacks for the students.
For Palm Sunday we collected protein foods for the East Dartmouth Christian Food Bank. Bring on the tuna! Reminiscent of our Lenten challenge from last year, we revisited our protein challenge for the food bank for this week. The East Dartmouth Christian Food Bank is a multi-denominational association of Churches within the East Dartmouth to help those less fortunate in our own community.
For our final week of the challenge we collected small gift cards ($5 denominations) from Tim Hortons and McDonalds for Margaret’s House (F.O.O.D.). The staff of Margaret’s house will sometimes go out into the community where the homeless tend to gather and distribute these gift cards during times when it is especially cold weather. These small gift cards are enough to allow the homeless into either of these two cooperative restaurants and give that person the ability to purchase something warm to eat or drink. They can then spend some time inside out of the cold to warm up.
Once again this year the people of St’ Luke’s shared their own abundance to help others in our community in the true spirit of Christianity.