Hope Community Church, the Grace Brethren church in Raleigh, North Carolina (Mike Lee, pastor), has a creative outreach the first Sunday of every month called “Bumper Crop.” (photos courtesy Mary Ann Sibley)
All those who attend church on that Sunday are urged to bring bags of groceries, toiletry items, and paper goods, leaving the bags on the parking lot pavement by the bumpers of their cars as they enter for worship.
Volunteers, who wear bright yellow vests with the “bumper crop” logo, then drive up and down the parking lots and load the bags into trucks and autos for delivery to a pre-designated neighborhood community center, where volunteers distribute the donated items to needy recipients.
Mary Ann Sibley, volunteer services director for the Raleigh church, says the program is working wonderfully. She sends along several testimonies of the impact made by the donations.
One respondent said, “After unloading all the vehicles we stood in a circle and joined hands for a prayer of thanksgiving. We were all touched by what God did and continues to do through the bumper crop ministry. . . at our regular small group meeting last night everyone was talking about how we need to continue to get more and more involved in the community.”
One recipient of the food said, “It was a real blessing for our church…we were able to see both the spiritual and material necessities of the community. We had a wonderful time serving and spreading the word—it is my prayer that God blesses Hope and its congregation for this wonderful act of love. The six new people [who attended services] also accepted Christ as their Lord that night! Praise God!”
For more information on the Raleigh church, click on http://www.gethope.net/