Sometimes we wonder if our actions, gestures or small gifts can really make a difference in a world filled with so many abundant needs. This fall, Presbyterians proved that by working together, pooling our resources and setting goals, that big things can be accomplished. Whether saving pennies, transforming a birthday celebration into a fundraiser, launching a campaign or holding a benefit concert, change is happening thanks to the support of Presbyterians in Canada.
In September of 2011, First Church of Penetanguishene’s Sunday School took on the challenge of a year-long penny drive aimed at improving healthcare in India. Marlene Stewart, a teacher in the Sunday School, says the project has “given us a look into how other’s survive, and what is really important. We have seen how what seems like so little to us (even a penny) can mean so much to others.”
Emptying coat pockets, looking under seat cushions, picking up coins found on the ground and even giving up their allowances, the children worked hard for spare change. In total, $120 was raised (enough to support one person in India living with HIV/AIDS testing and medicine).
For many of us, birthdays mean presents and cake. While Otto Pallek celebrated his 75th birthday with cake, he decided to forgo presents and asked that his friends at Malvern Presbyterian Church to make a donation to PWS&D in his honour instead. Otto was able to raise $620 for food security projects. Thank you Otto!
“Buy a Loo” in Trail, BC
Last year First Presbyterian Church in Trail, BC, raised money for a well. This year they decided to challenge themselves to buy 100 latrines with their “Buy a Loo” campaign. By summer when they had raised enough money to buy 80 latrines, they were challenged by a visitor to the church – he said that if the church would donate enough money to buy 10 more latrines, he’d match that and buy 10 of his own. The congregation rose to the challenge the following Sunday morning, gathering enough money to buy 25 latrines. Church and non-church members alike joined together to “Buy a Loo” and Trail has now raised enough to buy 130 latrines! Household latrines help improve sanitation and promote better health.
Oh Lord, I Will Sing
On October 27, St. Mark’s and Myung Sung Presbyterian Churches in Toronto, ON joined together to host a concert benefitting Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). As an urban congregation, St. Mark’s partners with St. Andrew’s in Molesworth, ON to support a rural growing project—a project where a farm or common plot of land is harvested and the proceeds donated for overseas food aid and agricultural development projects aimed at ending global hunger.
Featuring a variety of musical acts in both English and Korean, the congregations also received information about poverty, global hunger and the work of CFGB and PWS&D around the world. Ruben Feliciano, a PWS&D partner representative from Guatemala spoke about the transformative impact agriculture programs have had in his country.
Bill McGowan, one of the event organizers from St. Mark’s PC said “the event helped bring the three congregations closer together” and “helped us all focus on the importance of taking small steps to address world hunger in the developing world.”