By Josh Gibbon
Campbelltown Church of Christ’s (CCOC) Hub Community has been identified as a key food distribution outlet for emergency relief in the Campbelltown Local Government Area.
A beautiful story of Kingdom collaboration is unfolding during the COVID-19 lockdown, as CCOC partners with St. Vincent de Paul, Oz Harvest, Church of Nazarene, and The Salvation Army to support residents struggling financially.
CCOC has built a relationship with Campbelltown City Council over recent years through various community projects. Because of this, the council has decided to contribute food hampers to the CCOC Hub Community’s food pantry and fund future development of the premises.
Last week, the council provided its first contribution of 75 hampers containing fresh and packaged groceries. The hampers all went in one day, so the council has pledged to meet community demand and increase its contribution to 100 hampers this week. The goal is to have 150 to 200 hampers available for collection each day if demand keeps growing.
Hundreds of Campbelltown residents are receiving food relief each week through all the charities involved.
“God has been preparing us for such as time as this,” said CCOC Senior Pastor Ryan Graham. “There has never been such a great need in this area.”
During the 2020 lockdown, three local charities that couldn’t operate in their buildings due to restrictions approached CCOC. With a heart for hospitality and collaboration, Ryan and the Hub Community team opened the doors of their well-established food pantry. With Campbelltown City Council looking into funding for fridges, renovations, and more hampers, this ministry can now multiply and serve the community in this moment of need.
CCOC Associate Pastor Rachel Goldsbrough oversees CCOC’s community missions and leads the 27 volunteers that fuel Hub Community. Rachel noted that her team’s intentionality in developing a culture of hospitality at the food pantry, community lunch, Op shop and community garden has been key to building a reputation of excellence with council and charity partners. At community lunches, the team waits on local guests at tables to provide an experience to individuals that fosters self-respect and self-worth. As a result, CCOC has become a home for many who don’t have one. “When people come to crisis moments, they know they’ve got a place to belong,” Rachel said.
Rachel said she would encourage other churches to engage with local communities at this time through food relief. But in establishing a thriving community ministry, she said two questions need first to be asked: “What is the growth area of your team’s culture? Get the culture right before you try to grow.” And, “What is the need of your community beyond the physical? Our community needed safety – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – so we aimed to become a safe place for people.”