As more citizens are kept inside their homes, they’re finding themselves in need of essentials.
For many churches, it’s become a ministry to care for those who are isolated at home.
In fact, one church in New Jersey has sparked a nationwide care package movement!
Evangel Church, a congregation in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, was devastated to learn that one of its members recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Chris Morante, the church’s lead pastor, immediately started to wonder what he could do to help.
After he reached out to the affected congregant, Morante was troubled by how discouraged they were—and how discouraged everyone was in this dark time.
“We wanted to do something tangible to show God’s love,” he said, reflecting on how he and other church members felt in the moment.
Morante and his congregation decided not to complicate the issue, but chose to demonstrate their care—and God’s care—in an extremely practical way.
“So we just delivered some groceries in a box to their front door,” Morante said.
It was a simple gesture, but one that touched the heart of the affected member greatly. It was a timely and much-needed reminder of God’s presence and love in a scary and uncertain moment.
After seeing how effective this simple ministry was, Morante and others in the church were inspired to expand their efforts.
“[As a church,] we’ve always been committed to reaching our neighbors,” Morante said. “We always say our mission field is across the street and around the world.”
This practical mission statement drove Morante and his fellow church members to brainstorm ways in which they could reach more of the hurting and the needy in the midst of the current pandemic.
“We began to mobilize our efforts as soon as we saw the [coronavirus] crisis beginning,” Morante added.
In the interest of expanding the reach of its ministry, Evangel Church partnered with two disaster relief organizations—Convoy of Hope and World Help—to distribute more boxes of necessities.
Now, the church’s vision has expanded into a full-blown ministry called “Boxes of Hope.”
“Boxes of Hope is a tangible way for us to stretch out a hand to those that are affected either through illness, quarantine, or just the uncertainty of this time,” said Morante.
He’s determined to show others that “the world all around us may change, but God’s love remains the same, and this is the hope that we have to share.”
“Our vision is to see hope spread faster than COVID-19.”
Thanks to the church’s partnership with Convoy of Hope and World Help, Morante’s vision is spreading quickly indeed.
The Boxes of Hope ministry operates on a few simple principles: local churches sign up to participate in the program, then raise awareness within their congregation, and congregants can sign up to give or receive a box of hope.
Each box is delivered straight to the door of the person or family in need, and the contents of each box are tailored specifically to that household’s needs related to COVID-19 and the resources available.
Boxes might include inspirational literature, critical foodstuffs, activities to keep young children busy, paper products, cleaning supplies, or snacks.
Morante and his fellow ministry workers have kept busy with their new endeavor, but they’ve found it to be more rewarding than they could have ever imagined.
“People come to the door in tears [when you deliver a box],” Morante said.
“For you to know that you’re not forgotten, there’s a God that sees you and loves you and there’s someone in a church that cares about you. It really means the world to people.”
Currently, churches in seventeen states across the country have partnered with Boxes of Hope to reach out to their congregation and neighbors.
That means thousands of people are being impacted by this one New Jersey church’s dream!
So far, Morante and his congregation have shipped at least six hundred boxes out to their New Jersey neighbors. Morante called the response to his simple idea “amazing.”
Pray that Boxes of Hope will continue to spread the Gospel and provide for basic needs throughout this pandemic, and praise God for Pastor Morante’s initiative.
Interested in getting or giving a box of hope? Click here to find out more!