Blyth, Ontario CRC deacons wanted to get to know the food banks which serviced their small community: The Salvation Army (SA) and the North Huron Foodshare. When they initiated conversations with the SA food bank, they learned of another church in Blyth, Living Water Christian Fellowship, that also wanted to know more about how they could work together, serving the food bank clients in Blyth more meaningfully.
Blyth deacons then organized a meeting between these 2 churches and the food banks. They also decided to invite food bank clients to join in on the conversation. Along the way, a local restaurant owner offered to host the meeting and provide food for lunch.
At the meeting, people were asked what they liked about the community of Blyth and why they lived there. The conversation eventually turned to the challenge of transportation for people: the food banks are 18 km away from the community of Blyth. The SA offered their 7-seater van to be used for a once-a-month shuttle from Blyth to the foodbank. Clients in another smaller community nearby heard about this development and asked to be included on the shuttle run.
As the churches began to work in partnership with the SA, the director there began to refer some of their Blyth clients to the church-community for further support. This act spread out to other service providers who also began to turn to the church-community as a resource. One caseworker said that she never thought of turning to a faith group for help, but was impressed by what was happening.
By God’s grace, this development will continue to expand and initiate additional opportunities for the area churches to serve the vulnerable residents in Blyth.
(photo of Queen Street in Blyth is from Google maps)