As a congregation always looking to engage their community, All Nations Church in University City was quick to say “yes” when Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood offered them 200 Thanksgiving meal boxes (as part of their annual Turkey Blessing) to give out to neighbors in need. With dozens of homeless families in the School District of University City, All Nations Church knew they wanted to connect with the schools to identify and invite those families most in need of a little love this time of year.
On Saturday, November 17th, eager to brighten the Thanksgiving holiday for the selected school families, and in a welcoming and relational way, All Nations Church held their first “Happy Thanks Giveaway” event.
Upon arrival, guests were warmly greeted by a joyful volunteer and escorted to various stations. At station one, they checked-in and provided optional contact information if they wanted to further connect with All Nations Church. At station two, each family was encouraged to write what they were thankful for on paper hand print “feathers” and add them to the group’s gratitude turkey on the wall. And finally, at station three, each family received a Thanksgiving meal box, including a 12lb. turkey, green beans, potatoes, and stuffing. By the end of the event, all 200 meals had been accounted for and the turkey was adorned with a colorful array of blessings.
All Nations’ Pastor, Chris Paavola, was more than thrilled with the experience. “To see families not only receive a meal, but also contribute to the wall of thanks – pausing to reflect on the ways they’ve already been blessed, even in a time of need – that was really awesome to see. Also, this event gave our members, many who can’t give in other ways, an opportunity to serve their community. The enthusiasm to volunteer was overwhelming!”
As for how this event fits with their mission, Pastor Paavola said, “At All Nations, we want to be a church that prospers the city; we want to help meet the needs of the community, and we want people to see Jesus at work before they hear Him speak. Once they experience the love of Christ, we believe His words will mean so much more. I really believe the families who came to ‘Happy Thanks Giveaway’ saw the love of Jesus at work, and we hope our relationship with them, as well as the School District, is strengthened through this experience.”
All Nations Church
7860 Olive Blvd.
University City, MO 63130