Whether they are a block away, or on the other side of the world, God urges us to feed those who are hungry. Gloria Dei responds by collecting for our local food shelves, by cooking meals for shelters, by garden shares and by sending financial support. Join us! Hunger outreach efforts offer a unique opportunity to engage and teach your entire family - from the oldest to the youngest children - the importance of helping our local and global communities.

Hunger Outreach Programs

Gloria Dei gathers groceries regularly for our neighbors who are hungry. We support the following food shelves:

Francis Basket
Located here in Highland Park, Francis Basket serves over 1,500 individuals in our local neighborhood including many new immigrants. Each year we have a special month-long collection for Francis Basket as part of the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. You will find large, red containers at our parking lot entrance accepting donations any time.

Keystone Food Shelf
The Keystone Basic Needs Program helps feed the hungry and assists people in crisis in a large service area in Ramsey County — from downtown St. Paul to Roseville, from Little Canada to the Midway and the North End neighborhoods of St. Paul. We do a special collection each year around Thanksgiving to support Keystone Food Shelf.

Department of Indian Work Emergency Services Food Shelf

Operated by Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul (formerly the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches), the Department of Indian Work (DIW) addresses needs and issues in the American Indian community, respecting the cultural and spiritual diversity of the people it serves. The Department of Indian Work Emergency Services Food Shelf has assisted low-income individuals who are American Indian for over 50 years.

On the fourth Wednesday of even-numbered months, volunteers from Gloria Dei feed those who are hungry at the Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul (183 Old 6th St. W.). In less than 90 minutes, we feed approximately 325 people!

One team of volunteers gathers from 1:30-3:00 pm, to prepare a nutritious meal. A second team arrives at 4:00 pm to serve the meal to the guests. Volunteer and serve just one time to learn about how to feed the hungry, or join us as often as six times per year.

For more information, contact Pastor Javen Swanson

Giving Garden
Gloria Dei has planted some small vegetable gardens along Highland Parkway to grow produce for our friends at Francis Basket (delivered each Monday). If you see the gardens need tending, weeding, or watering, please join in the fun!

Garden Share
Do you have a garden full of too many vegetables? Garden Share is a chance for us to bring the treasures of our vegetable gardens to share with our neighborhood food pantry. Look for the Garden Share basket in the Gathering Place on Sundays in the summer and share your garden’s bounty with our community! Produce will be delivered to Francis Basket on Monday mornings.

Local and Sustainable Agriculture
Local farmer Mai Yang and her daughters, Pala, Mai Yia, and Vang Xiong, cultivate land near Saint Paul. They sell their produce in the Gathering Place between services and after the second service. Your support of Mai is a way to buy local produce and encourage her work. This relationship is made possible through Farmer’s Legal Action Group of Saint Paul.

What is the Weekend Backpack Program?
Gloria Dei has partnered with Highland Park Elementary (HPE) School to provide nutritious food for children so they get enough to eat on weekends. Nearly 60% of children are eligible for free lunch and teachers see a real need for the Weekend Backpack Food Program. This is a tangible way to help reduced childhood hunger in our neighborhood.

Non-perishable, nutritious food is purchased from The Food Group (formerly the Emergency Food Shelf) and stored at Gloria Dei. Groups of Gloria Dei volunteers pack bags at church each week, deliver bags to HPE on Fridays (and occasional Thursdays) and distribute them into the children’s backpacks. We are currently packing 100 bags each week for children Kindergarten-4th grade and their siblings.

How Can You Get Involved?

Pack Bags at Church: This is a great activity for a family, Sunday School classes, Confirmation small groups, high school youth, etc. Commitment is about an hour. Sign up once or as often as you like!

Deliver Bags to HPE: Pick up bags at church at 9:30am on Fridays (or occasionally on Thursdays), to deliver to the school by 9:45am (sign up for one or more Fridays). Click here to volunteer.

The Weekend Backpack Program is run entirely by volunteers. The only cost is the purchase of food from The Food Group. This is inexpensive kid-friendly food and is delivered for free to Gloria Dei. Volunteers provide all other aspects of the program.

The cost of the WBP Program for an entire school year is $12,000. Breaking down the cost:
$350 per week for 100 children
$119 per child for entire school year
$15 per child per month
Any amount is welcome!
Click here to make a donation.

Click here for step-by-step instructions for distributing food bags to Highland Park Elementary School.

For more information please contact Pastor Javen or Mary Jo Hallberg.