Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gift Cards on Food Sunday?

The Long Island Council of Churches (who operates the Freeport Food Pantry where we send the food we collect) has requested that instead of sending non-perishable food we simply send gift cards to major supermarkets. They give the following reasons, all logical:
- Expands and diversifies client food choices.
- Empowers clients to make food choices according to their individual health needs and cultural preferences.
- Enables clients to buy fresh foods, which are usually better nutritional choices.
- Cuts down on wasted nonperishable food held in our pantries.
- Eliminates need to rotate food.
- Increases efficiency of food distribution.
- Eliminates time and effort required to deliver food to homebound clients.
- Reduces storage space needed for food storage.
- Saves donors the cost of gas and vehicle mileage.
- Donors can mail in gift certificate rather than drive food in.

Yet from a worship and stewardship standpoint I don't like the gift card idea. There is something special about going around the grocery store - or helping our children go around the grocery store - and picking out our gift to our neighbor. A very strong statement is made when our wagons come up the aisle. And the food is a physical object that passes from our hands into the hands of our neighbor in need. Its personal. Plus a gift card requires the client to go to both the food pantry and a grocery store and who is to guarentee that the client doesn't buy beer, tobacco, junk food, etc.

No comments: