By Shanna Cisson
Congregational Council Member at St. Philip, Myrtle Beach
A few years ago, all the soup kitchens in Myrtle Beach shut down on the weekends due to financial and other restraints. That meant the hungry and homeless would have to go from Friday lunch to Monday breakfast without anything to eat. An active group of volunteers started preparing small bagged lunches to pass out; then a small pot luck lunch. Now several churches help in making sure hungry people are fed each weekend. St. Philip is one of those churches.
Prior to this past Saturday, we asked for a few things, a few donations and our tables were overflowing! With a Growing in God’s Mission Community Engagement grant from the SC Synod, we were able to purchase 96 new backpacks, 240 pairs of socks, and 96 pre-packaged hygiene kits. With a donation from Thrivent, we were able to purchase large fleece blankets, knit caps and all-weather gloves. Several people took the time to knit home-made scarfs and matching caps. We had a donation of 100 Mylar Rescue all-weather blankets. And members of the congregation donated hoodies, sweatshirts, sweaters, coats and jeans for the upcoming cold winter months.
And we served! There were over 60 people – our guests – who enjoyed a hot, home-made meal and took with them sandwiches. We welcomed all guests with a smile and some friendly conversation. After the meal, the guests were given the opportunity to “go shopping” – all that we had collected was out for each person to take what they wanted – no cost. They were empowered to make their own choices on what they wanted.
“So often people in an unsheltered environment are not allowed to make choices. They are told where they cannot go and what they cannot do. The members of St. Philip wanted to share more on this day. We want to make sure people aren’t just fed physically, but through our conversations and interactions, we feed them spiritually, too. Because of everyone’s efforts, people aren’t hungry. That is what resurrection and life looks like here and now.” said Rev. Jason Lee, pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church.
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