Reaching out to neighbors is sometimes as simple as sharing a meal together. Each Tuesday afternoon in the summer, volunteers gather at a park in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to provide a meal for people in need and to build community. Located one kilometer from Fredericton Christian Reformed Church, this outreach ministry began three years ago at Neville Street Park, which is adjacent to a low income housing neighborhood.
Henny Drost, a member of Fredericton CRC, has been part of this ministry from its beginning. “When it started, the main goal was the children,” said Drost. “We wanted to help those who suffer poverty and abuse.”
They meet in the park for a time of food and fellowship with 10 to 15 families who live in the housing complex. “It’s very simple,” Drost explained. “We set up a table, bring food, and share it with the families. We say a short prayer and hang out with them while the kids play in the park. It’s just a bit of support to say, ‘I care too.’”
Through these relationships, volunteers are able to help out in various other ways. One helps people with tax returns. Drost brings several neighborhood girls to the GEMS club at Fredericton CRC each week, and deacons have been able to help some of the families in need.
Drost would love to develop their winter program as well. Last winter, church members made up meal plates and brought them to the families each Tuesday. Drost would like to have an indoor space to meet and organize crafts and games for the children.
“It’s not just the food they need. The biggest value I see is the interaction,” said Drost. “Even if you can’t count the impact, even if it’s just one person who is blessed through this, this is something I enjoy and a way I can use the gifts God has given me.”