In the book of First Corinthians, it says the church is like a body, with different roles and gifts.
For Heather Parkin of the Owen Sound, Ont. Alliance Church, that biblical image was evident as people both in the church and the wider community came together for Harvest for Hunger—the growing project Heather and her husband Larry initiated to help respond to global hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
Heather and Larry are farmers. This past year, they planted, tended, and harvested a 12-acre field of soybeans, donating the proceeds to the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) account in the Foodgrains Bank.
The project was only possible because of the support they received from their church and community, she says.
“We called a meeting at our church, and 30 people showed up,” says Heather. “We were surprised and thrilled because we didn’t know what to expect. I’d been told the first year is the hardest.”
One of the challenges facing any new Foodgrains Bank growing project is coming up with the money needed to grow a crop—things like seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides are expensive.
Thankfully, all of Harvest for Hunger’s input costs were donated by local businesses.
“Everyone had their own little area of expertise. Areas where I had no expertise, there seemed to be people picking up what needed to be done,” she says, citing an afternoon of pie baking before their celebration day, and a local advertising agency helping out with promotion.
As well as the soybean field, the group also planted a pumpkin patch—something that especially appealed to the church’s youth, who volunteered to pick and wash the ripe pumpkins.
For Heather, the highlight was the day they invited families from the nearby town to come out to the farm for a day of learning about farm life and celebrating the healthy crop in the field.
About 800 people came out for a celebration festival that included a corn maze, barbecue, silent auction, music, ice cream making, face-painting, kids’ tractor races, horse-drawn wagon rides, and the Farmer Olympics. People also had the opportunity to see farm animals and the crops being grown.
“It was amazing for us to be able to host the event, and see young families come and learn about where food comes from, while helping a good cause,” she says, noting that this past year’s yield was the best they’ve ever had.
Joanne Beach, Foodgrains Bank Board Member representing the C&MA, attended the event.
“It was so well run – even better than some country fairs I have attended,” she says. “The atmosphere was filled with excitement and enthusiasm by attendees and the dozens of volunteers.”
For Heather, what it comes down to is making a difference for people around the world who are in need.
“We’re blessed to have so much here. If we can help at all, it’s important to make a difference where we can.”
“It’s like the Lord was looking at it and seeing everything fall into place.”
–Amanda Thorsteinsson, Communications Officer