Meeting Community Needs

Blessing Closet Donation Bin

It is a privilege of the Zion’s Social Ministry Team to serve people that need help in our local communities and what could be a better time than during a national emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic?

Volunteers stepped into action in many ways during the last few months and plan to do so in new ways in the summer months.

A HUGE thank you to all the generous volunteers that have accomplished so much to help people in our local community. As we go forward and continue to see the changes that take place in the ‘near future’, the Social Ministry Team will continue to find ways to help our neighbors that need assistance. If you have any ideas of areas where we might help people, please let us know. It is only with your continued support, that we can make a positive difference in our community.

Fare for All Distribution

This program, offering frozen meat and fresh produce at reduced prices, has been a ministry sponsored by Zion’s Social Ministry Team since 2015. This pandemic, which initiated physical distancing, forced us to adjust from distribution in Trinity Hall to a no-contact curbside pickup contact. We were one of the first Fare For All sites to attempt an outside distribution. Unfortunately, it was a cold and windy April day, but this event still was a success serving 229 people that bought 513 boxes of produce and meat (which was over 5,000 lbs. of food) at an estimated savings of $8,000. Our regular team of volunteers, led by Lyle Jans, handled this flawlessly.

When the people were leaving, many of them rolled down their car windows, and thanked Zion for this opportunity”

John Lindlief, traffic volunteer

Due to the lack of enough meat products for distribution at all 33 Fare for All distribution locations, Zion’s event for May 12 was skipped, as will be June 16. We are hoping we will be able to host Fare for All again on July 14, either in Trinity Hall or again curbside! Watch Facebook for updates. [updated 5/28]

Blessing Closet

Now is the time to bag up all the clothes that you gathered while cleaning closets during #StayHomeMN and give us a call to make an appointment to drop them off!

The Blessing Closet has been closed to donations, sorting, and distributions for the past two months for safety reasons. With the switch to #StaySafeMN on May 18, Zion’s Blessing Closet will begin accepting donations of clothing *by appointment only*.

  • Please call 763.317.6052 and leave a message. A Blessing Closet volunteer will call you back to set up a day and time to deliver your donation to the garage behind the church.
  • No clothes will be accepted inside the church building.
  • Our volunteer will supervise at the 6-foot distance and wear a mask.  If you need help, please bring someone with you. 
  • All donations must be in either bags or boxes, and limited to five total 33-gal bags or boxes per drop. 
  • Donations will be sprayed with disinfectant and set aside for seven days before unloading.

Full guidelines are available at ZionBuffalo.org/donation-guidelines.

We are continuing to learn how to safely handle clothes due to the virus and will let volunteers know when we are able to safely start the sorting process. Safety is the main goal. The next distribution is tentatively scheduled for August 20, along with the distribution of school supplies.

Meal on Wheels

Zion has a long standing tradition of providing volunteer drivers for Meals on Wheels routes in the month of June. This year, during COVID-19 the program has shifted to a once-a-week delivery of frozen meals to households in Buffalo. Five delivery drivers are needed each Tuesday during the month of June for 10:30am-noon routes. This is a great way to serve those who are safest staying at home during this time. Grab your mask and head out to get some warm June sunshine while serving the community. 

Sign up by going to ZionBuffalo.org/mow or by calling Pastor Dave (ext. 107) or Sherilyn (ext. 108) at Zion 763.682.1245.

We’re thankful for all of you who are Zion’s “regulars” on the delivery routes in the past. If you feel it’s best for you to stay safe at home we encourage you to wait until it’s safe for you to volunteer again. 

Kids Choice at the Food Shelf

Kids Choice is a Buffalo Food Shelf program that gives kids bags of ‘kid friendly’ groceries they can make at home during the summer months when they are not in school and getting the free/reduced meals. When we heard the schools would be closed, Social Ministry worked with the food shelf to organize and pack these bags to give away to school age children. Several times in the past few months, volunteers like the Yost family, Jill and Ellie Davis, the Fauschs, Pastor Dave, and other volunteers gave of their time to pack these bags. Through the month of April, these food bags helped feed over 250 kids and the program continues as schools are closed. 

This is a wonderful learning experience for our family to help local children.

Nicole Yost, volunteer

We will continue to use volunteers to pack for the Kids’ Choice program at the food shelf throughout the three summer months or until school resumes and kids can again receive free/reduced meals.

Birthday Bags at the Food Shelf

One of the projects that was to be included in Zion’s SERVE Weekend was to provide birthday bags for the kids whose parents use the Buffalo Food Shelf. We could not let these kids have a birthday without a celebration, so Social Ministry provided the funds to buy the supplies, and the Kohls family and friends arranged to pack 50 birthday bags at the food shelf on May 4. 

It was such an uplifting and fun experience.

Leah, volunteer Delivering Food to Woodmere

The Buffalo Food Shelf would normally take its mobile van and create a ‘farmers market’ at Woodmere, a low-income senior apartment facility in Buffalo, allowing them to shop for perishable food. Because of the pandemic, this practice could not continue because the residents are confined to their rooms. So Social Ministry stepped in to help! We bought some fresh salads and fruits along with some canned items (and even toilet paper) from the food shelf and put together a generous bag of groceries which were hand delivered to the front door of all 56 residents. 

It was a real God-send that you provided this food as we were getting really hungry!

Bonnie, Woodmere resident

Diapers

The Social Ministry Committee started to supply diapers through the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program in February. We had helped 18 families with diapers before WIC was forced to shut down this activity. As soon as WIC reopens their office one week each month at Zion for in-person appointments, we will be back in the diaper business. Funding for this is provided by your donations through the Local Mission envelopes.

Bikes

Refurbished bike distribution by Allina Health is being discussed as an option in June.

Red Cross Blood Drive

A blood drive is scheduled for Thursday, July 9 in Trinity Hall and we will be  determining if that type of event will be possible as the date approaches.

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