Need to Care for Neighbors

"when you give a banquet, invite the poor,

      the crippled, the lame, the blind, 

        and you will be blessed.” Luke 14:13-14a

Dear Caring Neighbors:

In the last “St. Mark Bell” newsletter, I wrote about the very important calling of the people of faith to share the Word of God. However, this month, I need to share with you that we also have the need to live the gospel in more than just saying the words. We also must meet the needs of our neighbors and those struggling in life. Many of our neighbors in this world, yes even in this community of the Hanover area, will find themselves in times of distress, loss, unemployment, homeless, hungry or physically and emotionally hurt.   

For 51 years, St. Mark Lutheran has been a part of the invaluable ministry of the Hanover Council of Churches. As a cooperation of churches and neighbors, HACC is able to do so much good work, housing, feeding, clothing, healing, comforting people that are in need. However, HACC needs help to continue that ministry.

            Recently one major funding partner has withdrawn their support from HACC and from a couple dozen other area agencies. While the Community Aid stores continue to operate, their new leadership has enacted a changed policy of only offering agency grants to five qualifying regional agencies that operate with a budget of over a million-dollars. Sadly, HACC only does all their work with a limited budget of $400,000. A quarter of that budget, $100,000, came annually from our previous partnership with Community Aid. That means starting now HACC will be short $100,000.

            That means we are short money to help offer clothing like we did last year to over 3,861 clients. We will be short, trying to feed over 52,000 meals annually at the free PAL lunch program operated 365 days a year not including breakfasts on Tuesday and Thursdays. We may have to limit the Meals-On-Wheels that served 6,753 meals in 2018. Ruth’s Harvest may not be able to give out over 200 backpacks a week to qualifying children that need food on the weekends. The Shelter may not be able to house the 281 men, women and children they did last year. There may be shortfalls in case management, providing employment training, financial training, addiction therapy, holiday food, toy and gift baskets, aid to transport to medical appointments, and provide basic human services and supplies.

            With the loss of that funding partnership there is a great hole that needs filled so that the ministries can continue. Please consider this month as a people of faith, living and fulfilling the Word, by reaching out to help our HACC ministries and needs. Look for the HACC flyers detailing ways you can help.

                                                                                    In the peace and grace of God….

                                                                                                    Pastor Kirk