The gospel lesson for January 27th was based on 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and talked about how different parts of the body work together. There are different parts of the church body that work together to achieve the mission of the church. Some teach, some preach, some handle finances and some do the work of the church in many other ways.

It is truly exciting when you see this concept in a community, coming together as a body in mission. Since 2011 Immanuel Lutheran Church has been coordinating the Weekend School Backpack Program. This program provides weekend food to students in the Webster Elementary Schools. Immanuel is only one part of a body that makes this program work. Food is collected by churches and community organizations in bster for this program. The storage and sorting of food and packing of the bags happen at Immanuel Lutheran Church. The Webster Central School District transportation department picks up the bags from Immanuel and takes them to the individual schools. There are adult coordinators in each school who distribute the bags each week. Students who receive the bags are signed up for the program with permission of an adult in the household, no financial disclosure is involved. Immanuel is simply informed as to the number of bags needed at each elementary school.

Members of Immanuel are a visible part of this program, as they coordinate the packing of 65 bags each week. In 2011, this program was like a pebble kicked from the top of a hill providing 16 students with food for six weeks. That rolling pebble became an avalanche of help for kids in need, now serving 65 students throughout the school year. This program happens because of a generous community of people coming together to help. Churches of many faiths come together, collecting for this program. Some collect weekly and some collect on special occasions. Beyond organized religion the community at large collects food at their meetings, a store may collect at a special event or an individual may ask for their birthday to be honored with food donations instead of presents. Funding comes from many sources as well. There are organizations
that provide grants, people who provide financial gifts to honor an individual or a special occasion. We find that education about this program is ongoing, as some people can not believe there can be hunger or food insecurity in a suburban setting like Webster. Hunger happens everywhere for a variety of reasons from job loss and unemployment to unexpected medical expenses and many other reasons. It is difficult to start to name all those who have supported this program without the possibility of leaving someone out. Together we are a body and we truly do make a difference in the world. All parts of this body are equally important.
Thank you to all who are a part of this program. Thank you for sharing and caring and continually spreading the word.

The picture with this article shows food generously provided in one week by our community. St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Webster Christian Reformed Church and The Webster Quilt Guild are among the known contributors of this food. Thank you to all the known and unknown contributors.

Ed Huehn


The Backpack Program is a program of the Social Ministry Committee. Learn more about what the Social Ministry Committee does here.