What is it?
The Lunch Program provides healthy lunch supplies for local families. Due to the pandemic, it had to move its location from Chalmers Public School to Maranatha’s building. We currently have 28 families and 62 children participating in our program. Each week, every family receives a bag of food containing the following:
A loaf of bread Bananas Cucumbers Crackers
Cheese strings Yogurt tubes Granola bars
The lunch program has given dignity to those who may have had to send their children to school without a lunch bag and security to children who had to go without food in front of their peers.
In addition to the lunch program, we also offer a pantry for families who need additional support. We have up to 14 families that receive a mixed bag of non-perishables each week. While many of these families also use the Cambridge Food Bank, it is often not enough to sustain them throughout the week.
How is it funded?
In addition to receiving various donations from individuals who hear about the program through Shalon or the church, we currently receive regular support from:
South Cambridge Zehrs — $200.00 monthly (March 2019 – present)
Hespeler Zehrs — $200.00 monthly (March 2019 – present)
Lighthouse** — $160.00 monthly (September 2019 – present)
** Young adult program out of Forward Church
In the past, Shalon and the Lighthouse young adults would fundraise by setting up a display at the supporting Zehrs stores. Due to the pandemic, we are not able to do that. It is our hope that we can increase the financial security of the program by having consistent support so that this type of fundraising is a last resort, even after the pandemic is over.
How is the Lunch Program connected to the Mess Hall?
The Mess Hall is the community of families who use the Lunch Program. Before the pandemic, the Mess Hall met once a month in Maranatha’s gym to share a meal, gather the kids for crafts and play, and connect with each other over conversation. The meal was provided through donations and volunteers organized the activities and cooked the meals.
How can you support us?
At this point we don’t need any more hands to help (until the Mess Hall begins meeting again), but we primarily need financial support. Our priority is to cover the costs of the lunches, which is not quite covered by the donations from Zehrs.
You can partner with us by joining a new initiative that connects each child in the lunch program with a partner (anonymously). We are looking to receive a donation of $10 per month for every child in the program (62!). You can choose to support one child or multiple children. You can give your donation as one lump sum or monthly payments, whichever is best for you. Please contact Shalon Armstrong or Sarah Klein-Geltink (see email addresses below) if you are interested in helping in this way.
If you prefer to give in a different way, you can give any amount, anytime, through the church by addressing donations to “Mess Hall – lunch program.” If using the Bridge app, please note that if you use a credit card, a small percentage of your donation goes to the credit card company (so using debit through the app makes your donation go further).
You can also give by donating food items for the pantry. Favourite pantry items include:
Pasta, pasta sauce, KD (or any mac & cheese), Mr. Noodles, Sidekicks, rice, soups, canned fruit or veggies, instant oatmeal, pancakes & syrup, coffee, applesauce, jello, peanut butter, mayonnaise, jam…
As a symbol of this big family of givers and receivers, we want to create a heart-shaped mural with the handprints of all those involved in the lunch program (receiving families and supporters). We will keep you posted when we need your prints if you’d like to contribute to the mural!
Thank you for the support we’ve received already.
Please pray that the children and families involved in the program would receive adequate nourishment from the food we provide and that they would feel a strong sense of belonging as we strive to build a supportive community.
Shalon Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sarah Klein-Geltink (email@example.com)