We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Village Harvest in 2023 – Meeting the Challenge

On Nov. 19, 2014,  during the first Village Harvest, we attracted 60 clients and gave out 300 pounds that day. 9 years later we are averaging 887 in 2023 and 4 times as much food.  Call it “Give a Little, Gain a Lot.”

Why are we pushing Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28 in support of our Village Harvest food distribution?

  1. There is definitely still a need for this ministry
    In a sermon on September 22, 2019, Catherine wrote “I have had people who come to the distribution tell me that they wouldn’t have had enough food to get through the month without the food we provide.”

The Harvest provides Food for those who are being challenged economically. Funds saved from purchasing food can go toward other necessities. We have a variety of clients ‐ widows, single parents, senior adults on limited or fix income, unemployed, working poor, and people experiencing a crisis.

We are called to do like Jesus – and he fed people both physically and spiritually. Witness the stories of the Feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000.

  1. There is a benefit for us helping with this ministry

Four quotes from our volunteers highlight their role:

“I enjoy being a part of a team in our mission “To Do God’s Will”. “I think that our community is learning that we at St. Peter’s CARE and desire to share God’s love with our neighbors.” 

“I help with Village Harvest because we get to know the people we help. These folks become friends not just a number. It just makes me happy that we can help in some small way to make things a little easier or better for them.” 

 “I help because we are called in the Gospel to feed the hungry.”  

“Helping people to have access to fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, and other necessities is important to me and our church. It is what Jesus asks us to do.  

It teaches children about outreach and generosity. One summer in Vacation Bible School provided jars of beans with a recipe for distribution. 

  1. The ministry has been successful.

Over the past 9 years, we have distributed 121,795 pounds of food to 11,010 people which equates to 11.1 pounds per person. That’s substantial. The earlier years were lower at under 9 pounds per person with 2018 onward being over 12 pounds

Over the past 12 months, it is 14 pounds per person. We have served 1,032 people this year, 13,984 pounds

It is clearly one of our more visible and valuable outreach expressions from our church.

We have distributed more than food. We have provided school supplies in the summer and calendars and small gifts at Christmas. We have provided information about services, such as health-related. We have prayed with them. And we have held dinners for our clients.

  1. At the same time it has been successful, the Village Harvest is challenged by cost. The monetary costs have increased

The average monthly cost for the last 12 months is $180. This is up from $172 in 2022 and $169  in 2021

Nationally,  food prices were 3.3 percent higher in October 2023 than in  October 2022.

The Village Harvest is funded not by the budget but by gifts from Giving Tuesday and at other times. Your gift is important for keeping this ministry going in the next year.

  1. There is work to be done

There is still much work to be done.  In 2 of the 4 counties we serve –Essex and Westmoreland had a larger percentage of those with food insecurity than the percentage for Virginia based on numbers from Feeding America.  Essex was 9.8%, Westmoreland 9.9% of the population in 2021 the latest figures compared to Virginia as a  whole at 8.1%. 

The definition of Food insecurity is “these households who do not have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.”  We need to build a connection between our congregation and clients who come to the Village Harvest

  1. At the same time, it’s easy to make a difference

It takes only a little to make the Harvest a success

Every $10 donation feeds 5 people

Every $20 donation feeds 10 people

I would like to encourage your support and also for you to encourage your neighbors, friends and business associates to give. We are neighbors supporting and uplifting neighbors who are experiencing food needs. 

In conclusion,  we do “gain a lot” from this ministry. 

With our clients, we provide value in the foods we distribute, hospitality and friendship getting to know our clients, and to find meaningful ways to live out the Gospel.   These are valuable connections. 

With our ourselves we have taught the important of generosity, service, and being part of the team as well as creating a name for St. Peter’s in the community.

It all comes back to us.

So how do we give?

Two ways to donate – see the bulletin or our website

  1. On or before Nov 28 make out a check to St. Peter’s with “Giving Tuesday” in the memo line. Send to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535
  2. St. Peter’s PayPal account

Many thanks for your contribution!