Community Involvement – It Begins Through the Example of One
30th November 2017
At Tottenham West Green Road Seventh-day Adventist church we have intentionally involved ourselves with the community, especially over the past 18 months. Recently, when one of our church members ‒ Maureen Pollock, discovered a new way of engaging with the community, new avenues opened up at Tottenham that have never been seen or tried before.
Tottenham West Green has a membership of over 400 plus members on the books of which 200 to 250 attends regularly. Occasionally, there is an announcement asking members to purchase while shopping, one item of food for our Community Food Barrel. However, it is infrequent for the members to adhere to the clarion call. This means that it can take weeks, months and even years to fill the barrel ‒ hence we have not seen the barrel even half full, in years.
This changed recently because Mrs Pollock asked the pastoral team to write a letter from the church to all our local major supermarkets (ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's) asking if we can approach their customers, to assist in donating food (from a specific list). The letter stated that the donated food would feed the poor, distressed and needy in the local area and be of help in the community.
We were delighted with the response we got and were given permission by Morrisons in Wood Green to canvas customers over a two-day period. On Friday 27 October, Mrs Pollock went and stood alone in the foyer of Morrisons canvassing customers with a list of about 30 items that were needed.
The following day at church Mrs Pollock approached me ‒ to let me know the results of her day and that she would return to Morrisons that evening, after Sabbath.
I arrived in my eight-seater car (which when the seatbacks are lowered, turns into a mini transit van) to see exactly what Mrs Pollock was up to for myself. When I returned to church my car was packed with shopping bags; with over 500 individual food items.
The Community Food Barrel is now packed to the top with tinned foods and we had to purchase eight large plastic containers to hold the many bags of pasta, rice, biscuits and other food items.
There was no item nearing its 'sell by date' or 'best before date' as each item was fresh. The public carefully chose, kindly bought and generously donated.
What the church could not accomplish in years, one member managed to do in one day and an evening, single-handed; without assistance from any of the 400 members on the books.
At Tottenham, we would like to encourage other churches to use this strategy in their local area, therefore we wish to share the template letter with those who have found this initiative interesting. After all, there are many supermarkets all over the country, where this idea can be duplicated and the Community Services department within the Seventh-day Adventist Church can benefit ‒ to assist their engagement with the community.
It is amazing what one person can do, not in their strength but in the strength of the Lord.