By Patrick Scriven | Director of Communications & Young People’s Ministry
With the Seattle Seahawks heading to the Super Bowl for a second straight year, local United Methodists have been given an opportunity to again score big in the fight against hunger.
Last year, pastors Monica Corsaro of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church and Emma Donohew, who serves Crown Hill and Green Lake, and young adult co-conspirator Aaron Pazan worked to connect and inspire United Methodist Seahawks fans to respond to a competitive food drive with competing United Methodists in Denver. Together, the fans collected the equivalent of 158,824 items that were then donated to a variety of food banks and agencies in both areas.
After the Seahawks overtime win against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the wheels were again set in motion for another United In Blue Food Drive Challenge, this time with the fans on the New England Patriots. Corsaro connected with the Rev. Leigh Goodrich of Lexington United Methodist Church and the challenge is being accepted by churches in New England Conference under the name United in Red, White, and Blue.
Corsaro has high hopes for this year’s challenge, “Since this is our second annual food drive, I have full confidence that our people will win on and off the field this year – for a good cause.” Last year, Rocky Mountain Conference churches edged Seattle area food drive efforts even as the Seahawks sent the Broncos packing in demonstrative fashion.
How to participate
The competition is simple. Churches in the Pacific Northwest Conference, and others beyond that might strongly identify as Seahawks fans, are asked to collect as many non-perishable items as they can between now and Sunday, February 1st, when Super Bowl XLIX will be played in Glendale, Arizona. In the interest of Christian charity, collections can be taken from Patriots fans as well. United in Blue collection tallies need to be reported to Rev. Monica Corsaro (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 11:59pm Sunday, February 1st.
Churches can also designate themselves as a drop-off site for other United Methodists and local community members via a sign up form on the United in Blue website. An online giving option is also available on the website for those who would prefer to contribute monetarily, with proceeds going to Northwest Harvest, which operates statewide in Washington with a network of more than 370 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. Food goods collected in local churches will go to a local charity chosen by the church.
The friendly competition
When asked how she felt about being challenged, Rev. Goodrich responded, “This will be a lot of fun, and I think we can help some people.”
Bishops Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Area, and Sudarshana Devadhar who serves New England, have spoken to each other about the challenge and are encouraging their churches to consider participating.
Assistance with basic needs is a frustrating reality for many families, and groups often feel a pinch at this time of the year as the generosity inspired by the holidays starts to dry up. Organizations in both states count a significant numbers of children (roughly 33%) and elderly (approximately 20%) among those they serve regularly. In Washington state, 1 out of every 5 children lives in a home that experiences food insecurity.
Still, a benevolent spirit doesn’t mean that New England churches will be deflated in their efforts to compete off the field. “We might not be as organized as you all, but we think we are more than up to the task of winning this challenge,” said Goodrich.
And that is a challenge Seattle supporters are eager to meet.