Aylmer, Ontario faith community comes together in support of global hunger

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Irma Reckman (left) and Tina Vervoef (right), members of the Aylmer Christian Reformed Church, serve soup during one of this year’s Meagre Meals. (Photo credit: Aylmer Express)

There’s nothing meagre about Aylmer Ministerial’s support for those who are hungry overseas.

Through the Ministerial, a group of 18-20 pastors and parachurch organization leaders who represent 15 different faith groups in the Aylmer, Ontario area come together in support of local and global poverty-related issues.

The group includes leaders from local Baptist, United, Catholic and other Christian denominations, and through its annual fundraising event – Meagre Meals – the Aylmer Ministerial has been supporting Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s efforts to end global hunger for the past twenty years.

Each year during Lent, the ministerial serves Meagre Meals for five consecutive Thursdays, beginning the week after Ash Wednesday and ending on the Thursday before Palm Sunday.

“There’s always a warm heart for those who need a helping hand,” says Louis Bosma, Chair of the Aylmer Ministerial. “And God calls us to reach out to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.”

“We are so blessed as churches and individuals here in Canada, and we certainly feel that here in this area,” says Bosma. “We can’t all go overseas to help families, but we can support organizations that do.”

A meal costs $6.00 and consists of a bowl of soup, a sandwich and a drink. Bosma says they typically serve 120 people during each meal.

Half of the proceeds of Meagre Meals are donated to the Foodgrains Bank, while the remaining half is split between two local organizations in Aylmer.

This year’s Meagre Meals raised over $4,000 altogether, with around $2,000 being donated to the Foodgrains Bank.

While the money is important, for Bosma, there’s other aspects of the initiative that are equally significant.

“I think the process is as important for me,” he says. “Watching the community come together for Meagre Meals, it’s gratifying when you see 100 people of all walks of faith and the broader community coming together for a good cause.”

Along with bringing community members together, Bosma says that many local businesses help with donating food, supplies and money toward the initiative.

Dave Epp, the regional coordinator for the Foodgrains Bank in Ontario, says that Aylmer Ministerial’s ecumenical structure reminds him of the Foodgrains Bank’s member churches and church organizations.

“The idea behind the Foodgrains Bank was to bring Canadian Christians together to help end global hunger,” says Epp. “So it’s inspiring to see that ecumenical structure mirrored at the local level in Aylmer.”

“We’re grateful for the commitment Aylmer Ministerial shows for ending hunger,” adds Epp.

For Bosma, Aylmer Ministerial demonstrates the impact Christians across Canada can have when they come together in support of people who are suffering overseas.

“It says something for a small town with a population of about 7,500,” says Bosma.

“It is a privilege to be able to work together as the broader faith community on initiatives such as this,” he adds.

-Shaylyn McMahon, Communications Assistant