By MDS Canada
WINNIPEG, Man.—One month after its launch on February 1, the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada Spirit of MDS Fund approved $54,900 in grants for 24 Canadian congregations and church-related organizations.
Ten of the recipients are part of Mennonite Church Canada, seven are Mennonite Brethren churches, and there is one each from the Evangelical Mennonite Conference, Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference and Be In Christ Canada. Four other organizations or ministries also received funding.
The Living Word Temple, a Mennonite Brethren congregation that serves mostly First Nations people in Winnipeg, will use its grant to meet emergency food needs, winter clothing, toiletries and bus tickets.
“The funds will be put to use to help our daily distribution of these items,” said senior ministry director Steve Klassen.
“We have many people come to the church and ask for food, lunches, clothing and toiletries each day we are open. We also offer prayer and provide it whenever possible.”
In Alberta, the Abbeydale Christian Fellowship, an Evangelical Mennonite Conference church in Calgary, will use money from the Fund to provide food for local families.
Because stores and restaurants are not able to donate as much food as before the pandemic, “we have had to cut back on the amount of food given out each week,” said Community Cupboard Outreach Coordinator Geraldine Fair. She notes they will use the money to buy eggs, tuna and other protein items.
For Ross Penner, Director of Canadian Operations for MDS, hearing how the Fund is helping local churches and church-related organizations shows its importance at this time.
“Although we can’t do our regular service through volunteers due to COVID-19, we can serve those who need assistance through congregations and other groups on the front-lines of the pandemic, especially as needs continue to rise,” he said.
For more information about the Fund, or to apply, visit https://mds.mennonite.net/mds-canada-offering-spirit-of-mds-fund-again/
Community Cupboard has been operating for about 12 years. We wouldn’t be able to continue this program without dedicated volunteers. They come week after week extending compassion and love to the community clients, blessing them over and over again. The people who attend see us as a family, and some people attend our church in response to the loving fellowship they see demonstrated.
Our numbers for the past year have risen from approximately 25 families to up to 45 families. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have changed the way we provide the service. Pre-COVID, clients were able to sit upstairs and have coffee and desserts while visiting with volunteers. They came through our basement area where tables were set up with products and “shopped” for what they needed.
Since the pandemic we’ve adjusted to new rules; we eliminated the coffee and dessert service. The morning team prepares boxes each Tuesday with produce, bread, canned goods, and takes them upstairs, which means heavy lifting. Our afternoon team logs clients who attend, adding frozen meat, yogurt, milk and any refrigerated items to the boxes. Clients go through a line, practicing physical distancing, and pick up their box; or, if needed, they receive help from volunteers to carry the box out.
– Geraldine Fair
Abbeydale Christian Fellowship
Community Cupboard Coordinator