1 John 3:17-18
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.
Home Sweet Home Ministries (HSHM) is a local mission that, since 1917, has been serving Christ by providing food, shelter, and hope to the hungry, homeless, and hurting in Bloomington.
For years, HSHM operated a food pantry where recipients received a pre-packaged box of food but had no choice in what those items would be. However, in 2014, HSHM transitioned to a co-op model that allows for participants to have the opportunity to completely choose the foods with which they feed themselves and their families.
This membership based program, called the Bread for Life Co-op, gives individuals an opportunity to support themselves and experience dignity in the process. Members are asked to work up to two hours in the pantry as payment for their food. In return for their work, members select about $100-150 in much needed groceries.
First Baptist Church felt a strong call to partner with HSHM. We saw how this model empowered these individuals and families as they worked to overcome chronic food insecurity and limited choices. We saw how the co-op helped build relationships and ownership.
But, what could we really do on the northeast side of Bloomington? How could we really make a difference? How could we really open our hearts to a community in need?
The answer was simple: we could start a community garden where we could grow nutritious fresh vegetables for the co-op.
Members of our church built four small gardens on the church grounds. We planted the seeds and watched them grow into flourishing plants. Church and co-op members harvested the crops that first summer which yielded at least:
If you have a “green thumb” and a passion for helping the hungry here in our own town, we’d love to have you join us. The Co-op Garden Group meets on Saturday mornings from early spring to late fall to plan, harvest, and pray.