The Big Give—a free garage sale sponsored by local churches to bless their neighborhoods through a day of extravagant giving—made a big splash in the eastern Ontario town of Brighton on June 2 with strong leadership from Fellowship Christian Reformed Church.
Since 2009, when an Ottawa congregation developed the Big Give idea as a followup to their reading of Rick Warren’s book 40 Days of Community, the idea spread first to other Ottawa churches and then beyond. After Evangel Pentecostal Church introduced the Big Give to Brighton in 2017, Fellowship CRC decided to join the movement in 2018.
Fellowship CRC members Ashley Gillespie and Brenda Van Egmond served as co-chairs for the 2018 event. Under their leadership, the Big Give 2018 became a communitywide event with participation by six churches of different denominations in Brighton.
The committee arranged to hold the giveaway in the town arena and public park, adding carnival-style activities to the fun. Town firefighters showed off their trucks and fire safety tips. Mayor Mark Wallis was a popular target on the seat of the dunk tank, alternating with Fellowship CRC pastor Ryan Braam and others. A free breakfast, free cotton candy, face painting, and free haircuts all added to the day’s festivities.
Fellowship CRC collected items for a month ahead of the event, amassing more than 20 pick-up truckloads of goods that were sorted and stored in meeting rooms. Following the giveaway, only two truckloads of items remained to be donated to local charity stores.