From Kristin Drummond, Outreach Coordinator for St. Matthew's:
One of my favorite sayings has always been, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” ( a shortened version of Gandhi's famous quote: "We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do."). If something in the world seems amiss, don’t just complain about it; DO something. It doesn’t have to be on a large scale; just something within your control that will sway the momentum of all things in a good direction.
Since taking the role of Outreach coordinator at St. Matthew's, my eyes have been opened to the amount of poverty and food insecurity in our Sterling community. In just the six schools that we serve in Outreach, there are over 3,000 children who meet the definition of Economically Disadvantaged – a designation that means a student qualifies for the federally subsidized meals program, which means they are at or near poverty levels. And then there are their families.
While St. Matthew's has historically held wonderful events to feed our local community – Easter baskets, Thanksgiving bags, community lunches – and maintains a strong presence in food-related programs like Backpack Buddies and LINK that feed hundreds of people – there are still needs for food in the community – right in our backyard.
Every school in Loudoun County has a dedicated Parent Liaison to ensure that school's children receive the resources needed to support their education, including ensuring kids at the school do not to go hungry. At the six schools we serve through Outreach, we have relationships with the Parent Liaisons who are our “boots on the ground” providing the specific needs to keep those kids from being hungry. In the last year, many of our schools have built food pantries that benefit their students and families, and those pantries are in regular need of supplies of food, diapers, wipes and other of life’s necessities.
This is where Outreach’s new initiative – Be the Change is needed. Here at St. Matthew’s, we have many parishioners, neighbors and groups who often ask me how they can make a difference. Here’s how:
Every week, St. Matthew’s will post two items needed by our school’s food pantries on Facebook and Instagram and stmtts.org/BeTheChange. Share the post, talk up the initiative at the bus stop, at work, at ladies’ night, and game night – get the word out; purchase and drop off donations to the church; and if you, yourself are hungry for more service, your home can serve as a St. Matthew’s satellite for collections.
You can be an essential part of the St. Matt’s feeding-our-community machine and grow our efforts exponentially. You can be the person your neighbors think of when they have a little extra money left over and want to use it to help someone in our community who’s just a few miles away and hungry. Please join us in this effort – however little or much. Be the Change.
Shopping lists and weekly needs
Signs to hang on collection bins
Ways to share the word with your neighbors