Members from the Bell Branch church passed out more than 60 sleeping bags on Jan. 9.
Members from the New Hope (Fulton, Md.) church came together on April 4 to refresh and replant their community garden, the “Garden of Hope,” for another year. Produce from the garden supports New Hope’s food pantry program, which provides groceries to Columbia Community Cares.
“There is beauty in the process of giving and in service,” says Andre Arrais, worship and outreach pastor for New Hope church. “The goal of the garden is to serve others and it is rewarding when those goals are met.”
The Garden of Hope, which has existed for over a decade, underwent a major change in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Last year the Garden of Hope underwent a fairly dramatic shift,” says Janssen Evelyn, New Hope member. “We wanted our garden’s ministry to be more community oriented: a place to build community, be a teaching garden, and provide a donation of produce to community members with food insecurity, which was further exacerbated by the COVD-19 pandemic. We expanded the garden footprint and doubled the size.”
The garden is maintained by a rotating cast of volunteers from both the New Hope church and the wider community. Evelyn reports that the project has provided great opportunities for fellowship. “The garden provides a way to connect safely amidst a pandemic,” he says. “With the onset of spring, it’s refreshing to see so many people that we couldn’t see over the fall and winter.”