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This summer, 46 congregations in Canada received money from the MDS Canada Spirit of MDS Fund to help them serve their communities during the pandemic. Funds were used for things like  food, rent, personal protective equipment, to help seniors connect with their families, and to help people attend church services, among other things. Here is one of those stories.

At River East Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the main needs it wanted to help meet during the pandemic was for groceries for vulnerable youth and to support a neighbourhood school breakfast program.

For the youth, the church partnered with a local organization, called Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY), to provide them with food hampers that contained a healthy balance of perishable and non-perishable items, along with meal ideas. Altogether, the church provided 156 hampers to RaY.

“Thank-you for the food hamper, you guys are awesome,” said one recipient. “I was able to provide for my partner and our child with the hamper. Thank you,” said another.

For the school children who depended on the breakfast program at a nearby school, the church provided food hampers for ten families. The hampers were distributed to families by two youth from the church who were hired to do summer programming.

“The loss of this program meant the responsibility to feed the children was placed on families who are already stretched and rely on the breakfast program to provide a nutritious start to their children’s day,” says Trish Dyck, chair of the church’s CareLinks program.

“The Spirit of MDS Fund enabled us to help two agencies, and in a roundabout way to help our two summer students find meaningful ways to serve our church and community this summer,” she adds.

It “allowed our church family ways to help during the pandemic.”

John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications Coordinator

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