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Monday, August 07, 2006

The Tuna Fish Church

Most churches participate in weekly food drives for their local Food Pantry. Sometimes it is difficult to keep the congregation's interest in donating week after week. Today Will Smama offers a creative solution to this dilemma, and sent a picture to show that the tuna buckets are indeed overflowing at The Tuna Fish Church. Here's her report:

"The local food bank in our area has asked every church to commit to a specific need. For instance, we are a tuna fish church. They have found that they get a lot more food and other items this way than with just a general plea.

I know many in our congregation take this very seriously and have committed to buying a can of tuna any time they go into a store. That includes convenience stores to buy gas. They buy one can every time no matter what store they go into. I do know of one woman who keeps a tally in her head so that she can buy it all at once rather than paying almost $4 for a can of
tuna at the convenience store!

We also keep track of our tuna collection in the bulletin every Sunday so folks can see our progress. It is included in the 'Stewardship Report' box that also includes the giving for the previous week. It says what that month's tuna goal is and then it reports how much has been collected to date. When we started doing this we noticed a major increase in tuna donations especially as the deadline approached. I guess it captured people's competitive spirit.

Folks leave their tuna in the back of the church in decorated buckets. They can also leave money in the buckets and a member of the Mission Committee uses that to buy more tuna fish.

One other note, we had our choice whether we wanted to be the tuna fish church or the feminine hygiene product church... I just couldn't figure out how to advertise that second one so we chose the former! "

Okay, leave your jokes about the feminine hygiene products in the comments, but remember this is a family-friendly site...

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  1. No jokes, but I would choose the latter too, if I had to be known by that moniker.
    On the otherhand. At one church when we collected for the local safe house, that was one of the most given items.

  2. what a great idea! thanks for sharing!

  3. revabi - actually we do have a group of women that really struck a chord with and they donate directly. I just couldn't open my mind to the looks on visitors' faces as they walked into our church and saw piles of stay-free products in the back of our Sanctuary.

  4. OK, I can't resist.

    The most discombobulated I ever saw a male pastor was when a woman came in and asked the senior pastor for "pads and plugs." He thought she was talking about her car. He told her that he would call some to look at her car and she gave him a puzzled look and said, "No pastor, I need PADS and PLUGS."

    When he realized she was talking about feminine hygiene products, he started to cough and sputter and turned quite red in the face.

    The secretary and I laughed until we fell out onto the floor. She said something like, "I'm gonna pee in my pants."

    He said, "I think I'll go play some golf." And then I do believe he left for a while....

    (note: certain characters have been changed in this story to preserve anonymonity and a certain amount of poetic license has been used.)

  5. This is such a painless way to contribute and at the same time to keep those in need in our minds throughout the month. I know I often tend to forget about unseen needs. I think I'm going to use this personally with my daughter. I'm sure she'll have a great idea of what we can regularly contribute to our church food drive for the local pantry. And as often as we go to the store for bananas I'm sure it'll add up to a bigger contribution than when we search the pantry in a last minute attempt to find a few cans to donate.

    I am really enjoying the Monday Missions moments. Such great ideas.

  6. "We're not a Mega-church, We're a Maxi- church!"
    Couldn't help myself.
    Our food collection is taken up with the offering on the last Sunday of the month. I've noticed that some kind soul always includes fun luch-box snacks and colorful breakfast cereal.

  7. We are a community of gardeners and a local minister has started a program where people can bring fresh produce out of their gardens to the church and it will be distributed at a local food pantry the next day...providing fresh produce for many who never have the luxury. We also participate in a program where people save up their change all month and put it in a bucket on the 4th Sunday of the month and all of that goes to hunger relief. (the counters HATE that Sunday...LOL)

  8. What a great technique for helping people remember what to buy! I am going to ask our local food pantry what we could use as a focus.

  9. This is a great idea!

    If you were the feminine product church, you could be "The Church With Wings" or "The Always Church"


  10. SOme time ago I went to the local food bank and askd what sort of items they needed. THen I made up a list. A few times a year I copy the list and cut it up so one item is on each slip of paper. THe slips then go into the offering plate with the idea that as the plate goes by people will take (at lest) one slip out and get that for the food bank. ANd we too have people who get the special extras every once in a while because "they need treats too".

  11. Our church does a once a month food distribution to 20 families. We have a small pantry of dry goods to go with the perishables we buy each month. One of the most successful ways we have restocked the pantry was to make a list of items needed on colorful paper. The lists where then glued to the front of donated paper grocery sacks. People picked up a sack one Sunday and brought it back full the next Sunday. I think its about time to do that again.

  12. I love the tuna church idea.
    When I volunteered with the homeless feeding program, I saw how many women participated and knew they must need "the essentials". I asked my women's Bible study to contribute "essentials" and we kept the feeding program stocked.

    I love the mission moments.

  13. I was ready to be all pious about this.

    Then I read Sue's comment, and all decorum went out the window!

    Thanks, Sue, for much-needed laugh.

  14. love the idea of the church with wings-seriously though I too would have gone with the Tuna-we were so impressed by this type of ministry when we lived in the States, there is nothing like it in the UK.

  15. cheesehead I'm with you - Sue you are such a blessing to me - laughter is so good!

    and like Sally, we here in Finland don't do this kind of thing. I'm always so impressed by the generosity in the USA - God has blessed us ALL with a generous spirit, but you guys /gals really USE it and are an inspiration to us all.

    I love the idea of the theme, and the buckets and the reporting. wow! We are fishers of men (and women) but we need to take care of the empty stomachs too. Thank you for that reminder!

  16. I realize no one is going to read this now, but we could name the church-based program to bring in feminine hygiene products: Wings & a Prayer

  17. I am still reading! I came up with an idea last night to go along with what I emailed you about.

    The officers here at the department are going to get a big round plastic bucket and we have decided to donate feminine hygiene products to our local food pantry. What are we going to call it?? I am so glad you asked!!

    Bucket of wings!


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