When the outreach committee at Marco Lutheran Church was looking for opportunities to help the community, they found out that those in need often have trouble finding hygiene products.
“We learned that there is a great need for hygiene products in this time of great economic need in this area,” Marco Lutheran Church pastor Thomas R. Boeck said. “The food pantries are doing a good job, but they told us themselves that hygiene products are something they need. It’s something that doesn’t get donated a lot. It’s something everybody needs – and these items are expensive. People will give up these items in order to buy food or pay rent.”
On Saturday, February 27, at the Marco Lutheran Church parking lot, volunteers manned a variety of tables filled with hygiene products for those in need. The church collaborated with Our Daily Bread Food Pantry on Marco Island to make the giveaway happen. The food pantry identified 100 families who were in need of the products.
“The idea is people come here, they have their dignity, they can shop,” Boeck said. “They can get whatever they want. They just point to what they want, and we give it to them. As much as they can get in their shopping bag, they can take home with them.”
Boeck said the community of Marco Island is very generous.
“There’s a lot more love in this community than you might imagine,” he said. “You have this sort of stereotype on Marco Island that it’s a wealthy community. And as such, you think that people are snooty and don’t care about the poor. Frankly, I’ve found just the opposite to be true. People feel like God has blessed them with material wealth and it affords them the opportunity to share with people who don’t have it. We always talk about how God has given us gifts, and everyone has gifts. For some reason people here on Marco Island – and at Marco Lutheran Church – have been given the gift of generosity. This is their opportunity to use that gift. And they give generously.”
Of course, Boeck made sure attendees had the opportunity to take care of their spiritual needs, too.
“We also have a ministry table. One of my fellow pastors, Mark Eisold from Pelican Lutheran, is in charge of our Hispanic church in Golden Gate. He hands out Spanish materials. We have a member of our church, Frank Romano, who is representing the Gideons. We also have some Creole New Testaments available for our Haitian friends.”
“Quite frankly, Jesus told us to love our neighbors. It’s all about sharing the love of God with people. If you ever look at the cross, it’s got the upright and it’s got the cross member. The upright represents our relationship with God. We have to tend to our relationship with God every day. But that cross member is where Jesus tells us that we have to love our neighbor. That cross member reminds us that we are on this level with all of the people who are in the world.”
“We have a community here that is in need in a time of great need. We need to step up. This is our opportunity.”