At Christian Reformed Church of St. Joseph, Mich., supporting those in authority is a literal act of service.
On August 7, 33 volunteers from the church grilled hot dogs and bratwurst and served dinner to police, firefighters, and paramedics, along with other neighbors, at their local National Night Out.
National Night Out is a community police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday of August in the United States and Canada.
Since 2011, the St. Joseph church has been helping to prepare and serve the meal at their township’s event. The church also provides a small gift for the public safety workers in attendance. This year, church volunteers handed out $5 gift cards for either coffee or ice cream.
“Walking around handing out [the gift cards] gives the opportunity to say thank you to each one of them,” said church member Beth Wolf. “We’re letting them know face-to-face that their work is greatly appreciated.”
“There are not a lot of ways to support our first responders where they really feel it,” said Carol Bly, another church member. “This is a nice way to be involved with them.”
The church’s cultural engagement committee first proposed helping with National Night Out in 2011, in response to their pastor’s sermon series on supporting those in authority. “It was something tangible the church could do to support, encourage, and honor those who put their lives on the line for us every day, being used by God to keep peace, order, and safety in our communities,” said Wolf.