News & Press

Church, Farmers Market work to help soup kitchen

When the Vision for Ministry Team of Trinity Lutheran Church was listening for God’s guidance last year, both hunger and the lack of nutritional food kept rising as a need in the Rocky Mount area.

In gathering information about existing local programs serving hungry people in the Twin Counties, the Vision Team discovered that the United Ministries Soup Kitchen had been provided a large amount of fresh produce from community gardens last year. But, because the facility has no freezer capacity and the fresh products arrived in such abundance during the summer months, much of the produce spoiled before it could be used.

Last winter the Trinity Lutheran congregation committed itself to support a new ministry for its church called WITH GOD WE CAN. This ministry was launched a few months ago when the NC Extension Services trained 27 members of the congregation on the procedures to follow to safely and properly can produce.

This past August the church began canning produce provided by a local community garden along with surplus produce from the Farmers Market during its first week of operation. In the following weeks, only produce from the Farmers Market was received. Many of the growers there noted that instead of hauling unsold produce home, they preferred putting it to good use by feeding hungry people in the community...

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With God We Can!

With God We Can got off to a great start in August. Following a meeting with TLC, Habitat for Humanity and United Community Ministries representatives on July 30, we received our first load of vegetables from one of the community gardens tended by Habitat for Humanity on Thursday, August 1. Additional produce was received from vendors at the Farmers’ Market. This produce was canned on Saturday, August 3. We were delighted that twenty-three participants gathered to participate in and support this new ministry on very short notice. Thank you to all who came out to prep and process the produce provided for canning. In all, 39 jars of squash, tomatoes, okra and potatoes were canned. During worship on Sunday, August 4, the jars were blessed and on Monday, August 5 they were delivered to the Soup Kitchen.

A second canning session was held on Monday, August 12 to can produce collected from the Farmers Market on the previous Saturday. Eleven participants gathered to prepare and process six jars worth of tomatoes. Other fresh produce that was not able to be canned was taken to the soup kitchen.

As word of this ministry has spread, more vendors from the Farmers’ Market have gotten involved, and on Saturday, August 17, contributions of pounds of tomatoes, okra, potatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, watermelons, pears, and cabbage were contributed. A total of 31 quarts was processed on Monday, August 19, and delivered to the soup kitchen in Tuesday, August 20.

Additional canning opportunities for With God We Can will be communicated via email and phone to trained partners when available. We appreciate your support of this wonderful new ministry and look forward to many more opportunities to provide for those in need.

How blessed we are to be partners in ministry!  Jesus said “…when I was hungry, you fed Me, each time you shared food with those who might be forgotten, who are considered the least, you shared with Me!” It is easy to become swallowed in a sense of defeat when faced with the reality of declining worship attendance and the many struggles in our community. Yet, God has chosen to claim us into an amazing ministry that witnesses the truth of all things - With God We Can!