Written by Sharon Oglesby who manages the community garden at Broadstreet Presbyterian Church, serves on the presbytery Self-Development of People committee, and serves on the national advisory committee of Presbyterian Hunger Program
As a parent we want the absolute best for our child. We go through extraordinary lengths sometimes to make sure this happens. As educators we want the child that comes to class prepared for that assignment.
I look at my current situation as a Director of several programs at Broadstreet Presbyterian church and want those things too. I want the children coming in eager to learn. In most cases, this does not happen for me. Most children that come to our programs come hungry.
Broadstreet Presbyterian is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Detroit. Broadstreet Presbyterian does not have a food pantry of any kind. Broadstreet Presbyterian does not have a feeding program. However we feed the community every Saturday through Monday of every week.
Our tutoring program provides a healthy snack once the children arrive and at the end of the program provide a healthy nutritious meal. There are 20 – 35 children that attend our tutoring program each Saturday. The parents often eat when picking up their children.
Broadstreet Presbyterian recently partnered with the “End of the day doughnation” with Panera Bread. As a result, we are able to distribute Panera bread products to our community every Saturday.
On Sunday, we provide “Breakfast at Broadstreet”. This meal is provided before church service starts. The children take turns saying the prayer for the meal.
After our morning service, instead of the traditional coffee hour, we have lunch. The meals are available to anyone that wishes to eat. In most cases, it is our children. We make sure they are fed because we do not know if they will eat when they leave our environment.
Broadstreet Presbyterian church recently partnered with the Coalition On Temporary Shelter (C.O.T.S.) Over the past 30 years, C.O.T.S has provided temporary shelter to those that are in need. Broadstreet Presbyterian was contacted to host a Life+Art program specifically for children ages 8-17. The partnership allowed us to not only provide space for fun but also to serve meals right before the program begins.
I love being Presbyterian. I love and enjoy the work we do for our communities. We serve the least of these as the Bible instructs. Broadstreet Presbyterian represents in the community with our community garden and other programs that provide for the least of these. While the work we do won’t eliminate hunger and poverty it is a great start in the right direction.