A congregation in Pennsylvania recently gave out gift cards worth $50 each to all the employees of a local grocery store, while also helping to pay the bills of 200 customers. Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, a predominantly African American congregation, held what it called a “grocery store takeover” at a local Giant Eagle store. In addition to the $50 gift cards given to the Giant Eagle employees, the church also paid $50 of each grocery bill for patrons of the store. “We wanted to recognize these front-line workers and show them that we appreciate all they are doing in this season,” said the church in a statement. Pastor Brian Edmonds, senior pastor of the Church, said that his congregation decided to do this event because “our world is hurting right now.”
“We are battling multiple pandemics, people are grieving lost loved ones, and front-line workers are putting their lives on the line. We thought this would be a powerful way to give people hope and demonstrate the love of Christ during uncertain times,” said Edmonds. The total cost for the event was around $13,000, with Edmonds saying that the church believed it should tithe into the communities that it serves.” “This is what it means to be a good neighbour. We also gave $40,000 to local non-profits who are doing transformative work,” he continued. Edmonds said he hoped the church taught people “that they are not alone, that they are appreciated, and that the love of God just might surprise you at the grocery store. Our prayer is that someone’s faith is birthed, strengthened, or restored, as we are faithful to our calling to be the church,” he added.
As the U.S. continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn, many churches are ramping up their charitable efforts to help the needy. Last year, One Church, a congregation based in Ohio, held a fundraiser aimed at providing gift cards to every foster teenager in the state, or approximately 5,300 individuals. Church Leader Pastor Greg Ford said the idea for the gift card charity drive stemmed from a meeting with Franklin County Children Services last year. “They shared that typically at Christmas, many donors provided toys and gifts for little kids but the teens were left out since they are not interested in toys at that stage,” Ford said. “So we provide gift cards for local fast food outlets or retail stores, that gives the teens a sense of independence. When they’re out with friends, they can have a meal together.”
Source: Christian Post