Iowa Church Hosts Unusual Giveaway

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Lots of people are accustomed to programs that give away food, especially around the holidays. But the staff and members of Newton (Iowa) Christian Reformed Church held a different kind of giveaway in late December. One person per household was given a gift bag that contained a bottle of laundry detergent and two four-packs of bathroom tissue.

“We wanted to provide items that are basic needs for everybody and are not covered by food stamps,” said Aaron Gunsaulus, pastor at Newton CRC. “Because of the food stamp program, when a family in need runs short on cash for the month, food is often not their greatest need. Rather, it’s other basic household items that many of us just take for granted.”

The church prepared 150 bags for the event.

Gunsaulus said, “Within the church, I called it an Acts 20:35 Project, taken after Paul’s comment that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ My hope is that it will stick, and that Newton CRC will be given many more opportunities in the coming years to do more events like this one.”

Those who came were appreciative. Gunsaulus said that many came a half-hour early and were invited inside, out of the cold, allowing conversations to take place. 

“We were very pleased to have been given the opportunity to host an event like this,” he said. “Lord willing, we will do many more like it in the future, with some different types of household items, and many more people will have an opportunity to see a tangible expression of the love of Christ through us.”

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Melissa Holtrop

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Forest Grove CRC in Hudsonville MI has been doing a similar thing in conjunction with Jehovah Jireh, a local food pantry.  We give away personal care (tooth paste, shampoo etc.) and paper products once a month when clients come to pick up their food from Jehovah Jireh food pantry across the street.  We regularly serve at least 100 families per month with this ministry.