Bags were distributed throughout the community by the church’s Pathfinders program.
“We ask [each year] the community to donate food that would make a good Christmas meal,” Pathfinder director Brent Burgess said.
The students go through the neighborhood as a group, with Burgess knocking on doors and giving out bags for charitable area residents to fill with nonperishable food items.
“We hit the same neighborhood every year and this year they were very generous,” Burgess said. “Last year we had 30 bags from contributions, and this year we have 57 bags.”
The Pathfinders group is similar to a Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts program, except it is co-ed. Fifth- through 11th-grade students comprise the group at Bowman Hills.
Burgess said this year’s group has many students in the seventh and eighth grades.
Aimee Hunt, an eighth-grader in the program, participated for the second time this year.
“It’s just helping the community and I love pathfinders,” Hunt said.
She said she enjoys completing the Christmas activity with her friends.
Canned food and cake mixes are often among the items donated, according to Hunt.
“It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to give these kids an opportunity to help their community and also the enthusiasm to see them helping,” Burgess said.
The church has reached out to the community in this way for several years.
Applications for the Christmas food boxes are received at the church’s Bates Pike Community Center to ensure the church is helping those who are truly in need and not receiving assistance from other venues.
Vicky Moore works with the community center and with screening the families. She said the church uses Charity Check to determine if the families are being helped by another organization.
Many of the families that Bowman Hills helps at Christmastime contact the church asking for assistance.
“The word gets out from person to person,” Moore said.
The church is helping 22 families this year.
Families come to the community center to pick up the food. The application requires a phone number, so that Moore can get in touch with the families.
Sometimes there are some church members served through the program as well.
She said she sees the ministry as following what Jesus did while he was on earth. “Most of Jesus’ ministry was healing, not preaching,” Moore said.
She said when her husband lost his job shortly after they moved to Cleveland they had to accept assistance.
“When I lived in Santa Rosa our church there … had the same thing (community center) and we were open every Monday and I would volunteer my time,” Moore said.
It was this background and her background as a nurse’s aid that made her want to get involved in the community outreach ministry.