Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, Opened Hearts When Schools Closed
Though the church building has been closed the past couple months, the work of putting our Christian faith into action in service of others, especially the most vulnerable, has not stopped.
Between March 16 and May 8, parishioners of Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, helped deliver more than 4,300 meals to children in the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School (CHCCS) system who are eligible for federally supported meals in schools. What was unusual about this daily event was that the meals, which included breakfast, lunch, juice and milk, and a light snack, were delivered to the children’s neighborhoods rather than a school cafeteria.
Staff in the CHCCS and PORCH, an organization that works to provide food to these students on weekends, collaborated to feed the children every day despite school closures. But many more were needed to implement this project, so they contacted 19 faith communities in the area to seek volunteers. Melody Harrison and Anita Howell organized this for the Chapel of the Cross. Fellow parishioners responded immediately and in large numbers. Within two days of schools closing, a plan and a full roster of volunteers were in place, and meals were being delivered. Chapel of the Cross was responsible for staffing two sites.
Melody recently shared this report, "Staff from the CHCCS transportation department drove big yellow buses (a familiar and comforting sight to the children) to each of the more than two dozen sites to drop off meals for distribution. Volunteers helped alert families that the meals had arrived and handed out food. We also had opportunities to talk with children, their parents and school personnel to ask how they were doing and share stories about living in the midst of a strange and challenging time. As is so often the case, we all felt like we received much more than we delivered. As the project evolved, it was decided that the school personnel could manage without volunteers, especially at the smaller sites. Both sites we managed fell into the 'smaller' category, and so our faithful volunteers were retired last week."
COTC volunteers Katherine and the Rev. Vince Kopp wrote that “all of the children and adults we met were so appreciative of receiving the food. The last day we were there before the school system took the distribution back over from our volunteer group, several parents and grandparents thanked us profusely for our help and told us how grateful they were and how much of a difference it was making for them to be given the food. It was heart-warming and humbling to be part of the team that served these families.”
This was a true community effort. Cameron Barr, senior pastor of United Church, Chapel Hill writes, “our different houses of worship have been drawn together in a shared commitment to glorify God and extend love to our neighbors. We give thanks to God for the cooperative spirit that characterizes our life together in community. And we extend our sincere thanks to all who have participated in making this program a success."
By Ellen Cole, parish life and worship coordinator, Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill
Watch to learn more about this initiative and its impact to children in need in our community.