Pope’s Call to Action Reaches the Mississippi Delta

For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

Mk. 9:38ff

These words from Sunday’s Gospel were the impetus behind the action of church youth groups from all the corners of Greenwood, Mississippi.  On September 27 youth from about a dozen youth groups gathered for the 27th annual canned food drive here in the city.  Sr. Kathleen joined the troops as one of the many drivers for the activity.

 

Youth gathered and registered at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.  This is the parish that originally did the food collection after a visit to a Mexico mission where adults saw food distribution facilities run out of supplies and thus send the hungry away.  Coming back to their own well-stocked pantries, those adults were motivated to not only send increased donations to the mission, but to open their eyes and hearts to the needs of the hungry right here in our own community.  Drawing the youth into the planning, this became an annual youth group project which has since spread to churches throughout the community.  All of this history was shared with the youth as they gathered yesterday.

 

The afternoon began with a short message and blessing from Pastor Calvin Collins of New Zion Baptist Church.  He urged all to take to heart Pope Francis’ call to act on their faith.  He repeatedly challenged the young people to “give legs to their faith”.

 

cc

 

Next, the youth were reminded that each of us is like a tiny spark on our own.  We are of infinite value, but our efforts can sometimes seem futile.  But, if we join our efforts as one community, they can become very powerful.  These thoughts were symbolized by each young person presenting a candle, thus adding their small light to bring forth a great light.

Soon, church groups were sent forth to their vehicles armed with bright yellow tote bags to collect food and maps to direct their drivers to specific neighborhoods of the city.

cans map 001

Young people go door to door either picking up canned goods left on the doorstep, or ringing doorbells to ask support for their cause.

As the yellow bags filled and the sun began to set, the youth congregated once again at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish center to repack all the canned goods on a trailer.  They enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs and finally the trailer was towed to the Food Pantry.  A final count of canned goods was not yet available, but results looked most promising.  These young people had truly “given legs to their faith!”

can drive 019

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