APTOS—Two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday rolled around, Twin Lakes Church Pastor Rene Schlaepfer and Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) CEO Willy Elliott McCrea were worried.
The church’s annual food drive, which typically raises thousands of dollars for the food bank’s holiday, was falling short, thanks largely to the Covid-19 pandemic that has upended nearly every aspect of daily life.
Still, Schlaepfer said he set a goal this year of providing 1 million meals, which amounts in SHFB lexicon to $250,000.
“And I was reluctant to do that, because I thought, ‘these are tough times,’” he said.
Last weekend, the church was $30,000 short, Schlaepfer turned to his congregation, and they responded.
Ironically, the generous response could be in part to the pandemic, since the church has more than doubled its attendance with as many as 7,000 people live-streaming Sunday services, Schlaepfer said.
On Monday, Twin Lakes presented a check for $457,815, which is the equivalent of 2.8 million meals, Schlaepfer said.
The donation came from individual contributions, and brings the food bank closer to its goal this year of 4.5 million meals, McCrea said.
“Our team has been really anxious and worried,” he said. “How are we going to meet that in these times which are so tough for these families?”
Staff pastor Valerie Webb said that the donation shows that there is still a sense of togetherness, despite the pandemic.
“This proves that even though we have to socially distance, we can still do great things together,” she said. “This reminds everybody who calls Twin Lakes home or this community, we’re not alone. We’re still doing things together, we just don’t get to see each other as often.”