Campaign Dates: Sunday, October 15 – November 19, 2023
Harvest for Hunger is IPC’s annual effort to fill every available shelf in our Blessing Boxes and Weekend Buddy Bags room with food and hygiene items. How do these efforts impact our community? By year-end, we will have served nearly 3,000 Weekend Buddy Bags at Hayes K-8 School along with more than 1,500 individuals and families through our Blessing Box ministry. Your donations fuel both of these ministries by ensuring there is food on the table for children, parents, and seniors in our city.
At the recent Community Ministries Series, we learned some hard facts from experts at Alabama Possible:
- Nearly 24% of Jefferson County children live in poverty.
- More than 40% of female-headed households with children live in poverty.
- 16.9% of Jefferson County residents struggle below the poverty threshold ($13,788 annual income for 1 person; $27,740 for 4 persons).
This information is staggering; it can leave us feeling stuck, wondering how we can possibly make a difference to help turn the tide of poverty and food insecurity. But our faith compels us to dig deeper, to find ways to walk alongside our neighbors, listening to their needs and re-imagining how best to assist and to serve.
Along the way, we made some new discoveries this year which have grown IPC’s food ministries’ reach well beyond our neighborhood. We now have FREE Mobile Pop-Up Markets strategically placed in 4 neighborhoods in west, north and eastern Birmingham. In partnership with East Lake Market/PEER, Inc., we provide healthy fruits and vegetables for more than 600 households each month, including 100 households of Hayes K-8 students. By the end of 2023, we will have provided healthy produce for more than 7,000 households. Your donations to our Food Ministries help support these markets, and this fresh food is vital to many community members, especially those who live in food deserts miles away from the nearest grocery store.
Through your food, hygiene and financial donations, and by God’s grace, IPC’s Food Pantry has met higher demands over the last 3 years. Our food pantry remains the only one in our immediate area stocked completely through donations. We depend on the generosity of our church members and friends to keep the shelves filled. This year, consider how you will help the more than 100,000 children and families who struggle with food insecurity in our area.
What You Can Do!
- Pick up a Harvest for Hunger grocery sack from the Parlor, Highland Hall, or Community Ministries office (ground floor off 31st Street South) through Sunday, November 12. The food and hygiene items list (our most needed items) is on the sacks and also available here.
- Return your filled bags to the parlor or Community Ministries office by Sunday, November 19, our Harvest for Hunger Dedication Day.
- Bring items or have them delivered to Community Ministries. Amazon Prime, Walmart, or Instacart are popular delivery services with IPC members. Choose your favorite way to help provide needed items for our Food Pantry and Weekend Buddy Bags.
- Consider sponsoring a food drive at your office or school.
- Establish a new family tradition of giving - 1 bag per month, one item each Sunday per family member, etc.
- Become an IPC Food Pantry Partner to receive weekly email reminders of current needs.
- Become a Blessing Boxes volunteer and help us stock shelves and keep the Blessing Boxes filled.
- Recruit your Sunday school class, Grace Group, or small group to provide and serve meals at First Light.
- Coordinate your Sunday school class or small group to purchase Weekend Buddy Bag items and/or help sack 320 bags monthly.
- Volunteer with IPC’s Meals on Wheels team to deliver meals to seniors. You may also now volunteer in the new Meals on Wheels kitchen next to United Way on 8th Avenue South.
Unfortunately, hunger and food insecurity never take a holiday, and so we get to join hands and hearts and provide for our neighbors, especially during this season of gratitude and holiday family gatherings.
For more information, contact Rev. Melissa Self Patrick at (205) 933-3709, Sarah Scruggs at (205) 933-3725, or Evelyn Puckett at (205) 933-3726.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.
~2 Corinthians 9:7-8