Offering Fresh Food, Conversation and Smiles During Tumultuous Times
December 28, 2020
First Christian Church Princeton, Princeton, KY
COVID-19 NBA Response Grantee
Before we even arrived at the apartment complex, the residents were waiting. Thanks to the COVID-19 NBA Response Grant, First Christian Princeton’s Venturing Crew supplied fresh fruits, vegetables and other products to low income families, senior citizens, and the disabled for eight weeks during the summer. In addition to having fresh fruits and vegetables, they were guaranteed a smile and a conversation from our youth.
The program was multifaceted. In addition to helping senior citizens with fresh produce, our program has provided a much-needed mental boost to seniors who have been confined to their homes during this pandemic. The program also helped small farmers by buying their products after farmer’s markets became restricted and sparsely attended.
We provided at-risk youth with an opportunity to find purpose by helping their neighbors, and we worked to give the youth an environment where they could meet caring adults concerned with their welfare. We connected the youth to people of color in a new way by seeking relationships that they might have not otherwise been able to make, and we provided an internship for a young woman who plans to attend seminary.
We hoped that by forging these new relationships we’d be able to make an impact in our community in a variety of ways: by buying produce from local farmers, donating fresh food to senior citizens that they may not have received at food banks, and to give disadvantage youth a chance to connect with their community in a new way. Through meals, prayers, and conversation the group bonded.
Leadership came through experience. From setting up an email system to coordinating schedules, the youth were active from day one.
What a joy it was to see our youth and our leaders visit with residents that we served.
Our Venturing Crew under the direction of our summer intern, gathered, sorted, and boxed vegetables each Wednesday at the church. On Thursdays, deliveries were made. The boxes of vegetables ranged from cabbage, kale, tomatoes, corn, onions, and peppers. The residents also received local meat at times as well as fresh eggs and homemade breads. For most deliveries we also included specialty items such as wildflowers from a local coop, homemade jam, pickles, homemade yogurt and egg noodles. Several of the residents said they felt like it was Christmas each time a new box arrived.
We are forever grateful to NBA for the funds that made this project possible. Any surprises along the way were good ones. Since the project began, several of our youth received employment and we believe that the confidence and love the adult leaders and the seniors shared has made them more aware and more open to meeting new people.
When our Venturing Crew first met, we struggled to share; now, our group has become a family. A family that loves, cares, and extends love in tangible ways. Through this project we grew our resilience as a community.
As the health and social services general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the National Benevolent Association partners with congregations, regions, general ministries, and a variety of Disciples-related health and social service providers to create communities of compassion and care. Founded in 1887 by six women responding to the needs of the day and on their doorsteps, for more than 130 years the NBA has continued to serve "the least of these." Learn more at www.nbacares.org.