Bring a Can to Church Day

Photo by CarbonNYC via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I want to encourage you to do a little civil disobedience within your church congregation.

Start bringing and leaving a canned food item to your church every time you go. Have every person in your family do it, too. Don’t make a spectacle of it. Just leave your cans in the foyer on the floor or on the counter in the bathroom. Sunday morning worship? Leave a can. Mom goes back later for a meeting? Leave a can. Your son goes for youth group? Leave a can.

Don’t ask permission. Just do it. The Bible tells you it is OK.

Eventually, someone on the church staff is going to say… “What’s up with all of these cans? And what do we do with them?

I’ll tell you what they will do. Someone will put the cans in a box. And it’ll just sit there.

Imagine if 20% of your congregation got in the habit of doing this? Instant food pantry. It’s not a program. It’s dealing with a problem. Who keeps leaving all of these cans here!

See, I think you’ll join me in the understanding that a house of God should also be a place of refuge for the hungry. As we linger in this recession I can guarantee you there are hungry among every single congregation.

And my experience in working in churches for nearly a decade– every single one of them had random people who drop by every single day looking for food or money. And in nearly 10 years I can think of only a couple of times we had food on hand to give them.

Almost every time people come to the church looking for help and are turned away. This isn’t exactly Good News in the neighborhood, is it?

I believe God has hard-wired us in the knowledge that if we need help or need a place to run to, the church is there.

Sadly most congregations in America have gotten lazy. They think an annual clothing drive or food donation to a local pantry is the right answer.

Ding-dong.” Every day the bell rings at the church. People come to them who are hungry. Don’t you want your church to be a place that gives them food? Wouldn’t you want your music pastor to overhear the secretary start to explain to someone that the church doesn’t keep food at the church but makes an annual donation to the food pantry in town… and says, “Wait a minute. The janitor found these cans. You can have them.

Bam! Instant food program. The church didn’t spend a dollar. They didn’t have a meeting to discuss it. They didn’t hire a staff member to start it. It’s just a box (or closet) full of cans people mysteriously left at church.

Bring a can to church. Every time. Every person.

Problem solved.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

5 comments

  1. I know what would happen in my church. Those cans would never accumulate more than a box worth’s, and if it managed to get that far someone would say, “Anybody want any of this food?” and people (who have plenty of their own) would take anything that they thought they might actually eat. If I had to guess, the wealthiest people would take the most, and the people who have the least would be timid and walk away with very little. Maybe your church is different, but in my church everyone likes to eat, and everyone likes free food.

  2. I love this idea. The next time we have leftover sandwiches from a meeting, I’m gonna offer to wrap them up and hand them out to the homeless.

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