Top 5 engagement ideas for church sponsors during COVID-19

Engagement is vitally important within a congregation. Missions should be relational, not merely transactional. Alas, COVID-19 has upended volunteer food distribution into children’s backpacks through our Weekend Food Program for many of our church sponsors. However, this does not mean there aren’t great ways for churches to support the mission of The Sheridan Story beyond monetary donations. Here are our top 5 engagement ideas:

1. Attend a packing event

The Sheridan Story is known for our food bags – we work hard to select food that is nutritious and delicious and offer a range of food to meet different cultural dietary preferences. To be able to deliver our food bags, they must first be assembled. Consider having a group from your church serve by volunteering in one of our public packing events at our warehouse in Roseville! Register as a team as a way to team up on a service project.

2. Share multimedia resources

Churches have suddenly found themselves pre-recording digital services. Browse our video resources to connect your congregation to your church’s missional engagement by dropping them into your streaming Sunday church services. We will be adding more in the coming weeks, so make sure to check back.

3. Share impact stories

We survey our schools, sponsors, and participants annually. We hear about the impact of our work through these surveys. One story, in particular, stands out about an individual who used to volunteer with her church by distributing food into children’s backpacks and is now receiving The Sheridan Story food bags for her children – coming full circle. Read the story here and share it with your congregation.

Below are some more quotes you can share in your church’s weekly newsletters:

  • “When COVID-19 closed schools quickly, the food on-hand was distributed to The Sheridan Story families on the last day when students/parents picked up school materials. I heard from several families that it was so important and appreciated. Thanks for being so quick to respond to urgent needs!”
  • “The Sheridan Story has been so helpful for our families during this COVID-19 crisis! It helps us breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our families are getting extra food support during this time.”
  • “One Friday evening, an 8th-grade student and I were waiting for her transportation to arrive (it was running late). She was recently just placed back with her mother after she and her younger sisters were living in foster care for over a year. We were talking about how it was going, and she mentioned that her mom worked a lot and was doing a great job with taking care of them all, but the people they were living with were ‘stealing’ their food, and they were running low. I immediately pulled The Sheridan Story brochure and explained the program. She then began looking at the different foods for each bag. She was so excited that her mom would not have to do much other than fill out the form. We went to the closet and grabbed 3 bags of food (1 for each of the girls). The oldest girl was so proud that she was doing something to support her mom and bring in food that she could help prepare over the weekend. Later that evening, her mother sent me an email saying how thankful she was and all of the support that her girls have received as well as the food that her daughters had brought home.”
  • “Our best story is told through the mouth of one child who asked – ‘Will I still get those bags of food in my backpack while we are at home?’ – talking about the stay-at-home order as a result of COVID-19.”
4. Host a food drive

The Sheridan Story welcomes food donations, which are especially helpful for our coronavirus response. We recently launched a digital, contactless food drive as an option to donate food digitally. We also accept non-perishable food donations at our warehouse at 2723 Patton Road, Roseville, MN 55113 on Mondays – Fridays from 10 am – 2 pm. Invite your congregation to get involved with The Sheridan Story by donating food physically or digitally or both. Whichever option is preferred, both help towards our mission of fighting child hunger.

5. Volunteer in special projects

In addition to volunteering at packing events at our warehouse, we also have a variety of other volunteer opportunities from writing thank you letters to sorting food donations. Simply, visit our new volunteer portal and browse our Warehouse Projects and Administrative Projects programs to find volunteer opportunities. New opportunities are added all the time as the need arises. We even have a volunteer coordinator who can work with your church to help find a good fit.

We hope these five ideas help your congregations connected and engaged in the work The Sheridan Story is doing in the community.

Not currently a church sponsor and interested in learning more? Read more about it here or contact our Community Engagement Manager Brian Jones at bjones@thesheridanstory.org.