For the past fifteen years, a dedicated group of individuals of the Calvin Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston, Ontario, have strived to fulfill Christ’s commission to feed and clothe those in need. Every Tuesday afternoon, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., the clothing depot is open while the kitchen is a beehive of activity as preparations are under way for a nutritional, delicious, vegetarian meal served to as many as 30 people between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. Leftovers are packaged to be taken home and groceries are also available to those who need them. At 6:00 p.m., prayer meeting begins for those who wish to stay. Over the years, six people have committed their lives to God directly because of this ministry.
Thanksgiving is a special celebration with Pioneer Hall decorated in fall colours and a meal to fit the occasion. Homemade pumpkin pie tops off a delicious vegetarian loaf with mashed potatoes, peas and a gourmet salad. Afterwards, the guests give testimonies of thankfulness how God has blessed them throughout the year.
Christmas is truly a joyful event with Pioneer Hall decked out in a festive fashion. The workers, dressed in the holiday mode, serve mock turkey with all the trimmings, a homemade, three-tiered fruitcake and a Black Forest cake.
Last Christmas, 70 individuals received a gift bag containing warm clothing (hat, mitts, and scarves), toiletries, goodies, a spiritual book, and memento. The folks were especially impressed with the personalized card that each received.
The community service workers are grateful to local businesses that donate goods at cost or free of charge and other volunteers who make homemade goodies and donate fresh fruit as it is a challenge to provide this level of generosity every week.
A barbeque in June ends the busy year for the workers as they take a well-deserved break until September finds them hard at work again serving the community.
So what is the response from the guests? Typically, they state that the most important reason for coming is the love, acceptance, and warmth of fellowship. However, each community service worker can testify to the words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
– Dorothy Knapp, member