In 2001, New Light MCC found a unique and meaningful way to serve the community. Specifically, they found a way to serve the HIV/AIDS community. The church began delivering food to those with HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Over the years, clients with other life-challenging illnesses were added to the client list.
The connection came through the Washington County Department of Social Services, which told the pastor about a D.C. organization Food & Friends. That connection remains to this day. The organization’s website explains it best, when it says: “The mission of Food & Friends is to foster a community caring for men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses by preparing and delivering specialized meals and groceries in conjunction with nutrition counseling.” Because New Light has always been dedicated to LGBTQ advocacy, awareness and service, this organization seemed like a perfect match.
The food is delivered to the church from the organization’s kitchen to New Light’s freezers. Then, every other Saturday, New Light’s volunteer drivers take the food to those enrolled in the program. Clients are provided with three meals a day, seven days a week. At first, the food arrived every week and was delivered every Saturday. There were four different delivery routes in the Hagerstown area and six to eight clients per route. As the number of clients declined, the delivery changed to every two weeks. Currently, New Light has one delivery route with eight households receiving food.
New Light delivers a combination of prepared, frozen meals and staples such as milk, cereal, soup, and pasta. There is a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables. Each delivery is based on family size. Meals are geared toward each client’s needs, which might call for diets geared to renal issues, or feature foods that are soft, pureed, dairy-free, vegetarian, diabetic compatible, heart-healthy, fishless, shelf stable, and/or gastrointestinal-friendly. The deliveries provide enough food for the entire family, including outside caregivers if necessary.
Volunteers at New Light report that the clientele has changed over the years. At first, it seemed like 95 percent of the clients were living with HIV/AIDS. Now, most are facing the challenges of cancer or other illnesses. Several are children.
The best part of the program is the delivery itself. The volunteers report that they enjoy meeting the clients. They know they are helping make the challenges of living with a life-threatening illness just a little bit easier to bear by assuring that clients will have healthy food each and every day. For the most part, the clients enjoy meeting the volunteers and look forward to their visits. Some prefer their privacy and are thankful that their wishes are respected. The program is designed to respect the wishes and needs of those enrolled.
New Light is proud to have been a part of the Food and Friends ministry over the past 15 years and is excited to see the changes that occur in the future. For most information about this program, please visit foodandfriends.org.
For more info about New Light contact one of the co-pastors at 301-797-5698 or email@example.com.
Rev. Kelly Crenshaw is the mom of 16 adopted kids, 2 biological kids and foster mom of dozens. Some are lesbian, some gay, some straight, and some bisexual. Kelly founded a K-12 day school where kids could have a safe, bully-free environment for learning. She is co-owner of a counseling agency that works with children and their families. She has worked with kids in the foster care system for two decades, actively advocating for all kids, but especially those in the LGBT community. And, in her spare time, she is co-pastor of New Light MCC, the first openly LGBT friendly church in Washington County. She will be answering your questions about parenting, as well as sharing stories of her own parenting adventures.
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