Parishes, schools and agencies

Food drive connects parish with Glen Eira community

Stories of urban ministryBishop Genieve Blackwell is appealing to parishes in the Marmingatha Episcopate to share their stories of urban ministry. Here, Ormond Anglican Church describes how its inaugural food drive helped it to connect with the local community and help people in need.

By Kevin Pederson and Glen Macrae

August 18 2016May 2016 saw the trialling of a new initiative at Ormond Anglican Church: the “Hope for Glen Eira and Beyond Food Drive”.

Modelled on the excellent pattern developed by St Hilary’s in Kew, the food drive mobilised more than 60 volunteers from local churches who visited around 1,000 addresses in the municipality, collecting more than 550 blue “Bags of Hope” (containing grocery donations valued at $15,000) which were then sorted and delivered to four food banks, focusing particularly on those services that work in Glen Eira. And all this over two weekends!  This idea really captured the imaginations of those we approached. Most people want to help those in need, but don’t know of a way of doing so. One local primary school even got involved and served as a collection point for the food drive.

Hundreds of blue “Bags of Hope” were used to collect $15,000 worth of grocery donations from households in the Glen Eira area.

The genesis of the idea was the need for Ormond Anglican to find new ways to demonstrate our care for the local community here in Glen Eira. Sunday by Sunday we collect non-perishables for St Mark’s Fitzroy — something we continue to do — but this did not help us respond to needs here, in Glen Eira — the place God has put us. So we needed something more. The modelling and administrative support of St Hilary's, along with the energy of the 60 people who volunteered, enabled us to do something about it.

Some of the dozens of volunteers who visited homes to collect grocery donations.

What have the results been?

    • four VERY happy care providers which together do much of their work in Glen Eira;
    • the strengthening of links with other churches;
    • the strengthening of links with local residents who got behind the food drive;
    • and best of all, the demonstration of Jesus’ love for those in need, here, in Glen Eira.

The future?  We can see the idea very quickly expanding — our chief limitation is the capacity of service providers to store and distribute the food donations we give them!  Next year we would love to expand by finding new service providers to partner with, and new churches to join us in the food drive.

At Hope for Glen Eira we serve a beautiful Saviour: a Saviour who saw us in our need, and went through the poverty of calvary to meet our need. Our great vision is to share that same kind of sacrificial love with those in need in our area and beyond — whether they are homeless and looking for a meal, or perhaps a family that falls on hard times and has to choose between rent and groceries. Wouldn't it be beautiful if due to campaigns like Hope for Glen Eira, the City of Glen Eira became known as a place where no need is ever left wanting?

The Revd Kevin Pedersen is minister at Ormond Anglican Church. The Revd Glen Macrae is assistant priest at Ormond, and Hope for Glen Eira coordinator.

This story has been shared as part of Melbourne Bishop Genieve Blackwell's call to parishes in the Marmingatha Episcopate to share their stories of urban ministry. To find out how your parish can get involved, click here.