Community Blossoms at St. John’s United Church

Food for Life’s neighbourhood programs distribute surplus perishable food to those who need it most. One of these programs is housed by St. John’s United Church of Georgetown and Glen Williams, a progressive congregation located in North Halton.

For more than five years, the Food for Life Program at St. John’s has served neighbours in Georgetown on Tuesday mornings. Though Susan Tupling is responsible for running it, she says it’s the neighbours who volunteer — assisting in setting-up, sorting, distributing food, and cleaning up — who make the program successful.

“I see my Food for Life neighbours more often than I see some of my friends!” she says enthusiastically. “They own the program!”

St. John’s Food for Life program began after the congregation began a donated clothing program, allowing neighbours to access much-needed items. “We felt we should also serve coffees,” says Tupling. Quickly, this thought evolved. “Well, we need something to eat,” she recalls thinking. That’s where Food for Life came in, providing healthy surplus food.

“Food for Life got us going. Since then it’s organically grown. It’s blossomed!” says Tupling. “It has become a community. Food for Life was the catalyst.”

Susan Tupling

Since the St. John’s Food for Life program began, it has become a busy hub where, pre-COVID, neighbours could gather, telling stories about food and sharing recipes.

“Food for Life got us going. Since then it’s organically grown. It’s blossomed!” says Tupling. “It has become a community. Food for Life was the catalyst.”

The program allows neighbours to get to know one another and the congregation better. “It’s their program. They take care of each other,” says Tupling, thinking about the many friendships and conversations over food that have developed.

What delights Tupling most is the impactful individual stories that emerge from St. John’s Food for Life program. Many volunteers, she says, are seniors. Others are young people accumulating volunteer hours. “Another got her volunteer hours to become a Canadian citizen!” says Tupling.

Without these volunteers, the “program wouldn’t run. It’s as simple as that,” says Tupling matter-of-factly. “It’s the relationship we have with neighbours. That’s the key,” she says.

To learn more about Food for Life’s neighbourhood programs, visit https://foodforlife.ca/neighbourhood-programs/

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