For over a year, Wesley Chapel FMC’s Missions Committee had been praying, experimenting and looking for different ways to reach out to their community of Toronto, ON. This committee also held a couple of events for their congregation to create awareness regarding the immediate needs in their community.
This past January, they decided to create “Blessing Bags” filled with items someone living on the street could really use in the cold weather. They set of budget of $5 per bag and put it out to their congregation. It took about four weeks to raise all the money they needed. As Pastor Sabrina Rose shared, “The response was absolutely overwhelming, and in a span of three weeks we raised close to $1,300. The church made the connection and we even had kids donating quarters and loonies.”
This money allowed them to purchase everything they needed to make over 100 Blessing Bags. In mid-January, twelve volunteers gathered to fill large freezer bags with mittens, wipes, granola bar, Tim Horton’s gift card, toothbrush, toothpaste and a note, “You are loved. Zeph 3:17”.
The following Saturday, a group of about ten people headed to downtown Toronto to distribute the bags. Within thirty minutes all 100 bags had be given out and many of those who received a bag said, “Thank you and God bless you.”
Sabrina’s dog, Scooter, came along and many of the people the group met connected with Scooter which helped break down some barriers. “There were some unnerving moments, but overall, God have us a wonderful opportunity to interact with some of our most vulnerable members of society that day. The gratitude and blessing we received back was amazing.”
The folks at Wesley Chapel hope to do this again. They don’t want it to be a one time thing. They are connecting with The Salvation Army Gateway in Toronto to become more informed and equipped for this ministry.