Since the founding in 1842 of St. Thomas’s Parish, Newark, one principal focus has been our ministering to the faculty and students of the University of Delaware. Moving to our current location on South College Avenue in 1957, we have partnered with the diocese in supporting a Chaplain to this day. The Episcopal Campus Ministry [ECM] has been concerned about fellow students who are food insecure and cannot provide ample nutrition for themselves while paying for tuition, books, and other needs. The ECM students unanimously decided to establish a Food Pantry in the Fall of 2015. Bishop Wright donated the first gift in support to purchase food. Additional food has been donated through efforts of the ECM with the parishioners of St. Thomas’s. The pantry is open and food distributed every Wednesday during the school year from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
This summer the Episcopal Campus Ministry submitted a proposal to the Young Adult Campus Ministry in collaboration with the Lutherans and Presbyterians Campus Ministries to share worship, fellowship and service with a focus on issues of food insecurity. We were blessed to be a recipient, and our program “Together at the Table” begins in September 2016 with a culminating Oxfam American Hunger banquet in the Spring 2017. This is an interactive event between students, the parish, and university officials that brings hunger and poverty issues to life with the opportunity to serve these needs collaboratively and intentionally.
For several years the Episcopal (ECM), Lutheran, (LCM) and Presbyterian (PCM) Campus Ministries have shared a variety of experiences, including “Ashes to Go” on the main campus, Free Cookie Mondays in the Perkins Student Center, the Midnight Pancake program for students during exams, and making fleece blankets and distributing them to children in foster care.
The University of Delaware, through the Dean of Students office and faculty in Nutrition and Agriculture programs, are very interesting in collaborating with us to reach and support the many students who will benefit from the Campus Pantry. It is also possible, as the response grows in usage by students, that a partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware may become a supportive reality.
Grateful always, in peace,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+
Rector, St. Thomas’s Parish, Newark