When Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Rock Valley, Iowa, thought about hosting the Shepherd’s Table meal in August, they thought school supplies.
At Calvin CRC’s Shepherd’s Table event, the congregation handed out school supplies they had gathered during a reverse offering.
The Shepherd’s Table is a monthly event held in Rock Valley sponsored by Zestos, a nonprofit organization in Orange City. Each month, a different church hosts, offering a free meal and food distribution.
“We thought this would be a great way to be the ‘hands and feet of Christ,’” said Evy De Kam, a member of Calvin’s Evangelism Committee.
Calvin contacted local banks, who contributed money to purchase the 50 backpacks they needed. They held a reverse offering for the congregation to collect the school supplies to fill the backpacks.
In July, after the offering was received, the deacons passed the offering plates around once more. Instead of depositing cash, checks, and change, members of the congregation drew a slip of paper from the plate with requested supplies including notebooks, folders, pencils, and glue sticks.
“Each week it was so exciting to see the supply tote fill, even to overflowing,” De Kam said.
On the night of the Shepherd’s Table, Calvin distributed 250 pork bun meals, bags of frozen food, and the backpacks and school supplies. Leftover supplies were given to the local school principal to distribute to students who were unable to make the event.
“Many of our workers and committee members experienced what we called ‘God moments’ throughout the evening,” De Kam said. “This event was truly a blessing for our church and the community. It was great to see people of all faiths and backgrounds mixing together.”