Many of you know that the Emergency Aid Coalition is an interfaith collaboration that provides temporary assistance in the form of food, clothing, and school supplies to those in need, but did you know how it began?
During the economic downturn of the early 1980’s, many people who had come to Houston to work in the oil industry during the “boom” found themselves without work, without money, and without enough to eat. They would walk along the Main Street corridor and ask for food from the congregations. Dr. John Fellers, then St. Paul's senior minister, was profoundly moved one day when a man who was obviously hungry asked him not for money, but for a sandwich. Dr. Fellers went to his office and could find only a package of cheese crackers to offer the man, who was very grateful to receive it.
The incident weighed on Dr. Fellers for days afterward, such that he mentioned it to some of the ladies of St. Paul’s, who were persuaded of the need for a sandwich ministry. The sandwich ministry began shortly thereafter.
Staffed initially by St. Paul’s volunteers, that one act by Dr. Fellers evolved over time into the multi-congregation Emergency Aid Coalition, which was officially formed in 1983.
Today, 14 congregations of different faiths are actively united to feed and clothe those caught in economic crises. Each of these congregations brings its unique perspective and experience to the effort, and all contribute immensely to serve EAC clients with respect and compassion.
From the early days of providing sandwiches from the sanctuary basement to today’s space in Abraham Station for the EAC at a discounted rent plus many supportive volunteers, St. Paul’s has helped make the EAC happen. But St. Paul’s does not support the EAC through the church budget. Contributions toward the church’s annual congregational goal of $16,000 come only by direct donation from individuals.
EAC Donation Sunday is October 25. Please stop by the table in the Plaza to learn more about ways to support and be involved in this St. Paul’s outreach mission. To donate, please make checks payable to the Emergency Aid Coalition with “St. Paul’s” on the memo line.
In a perfect world, every family would have the food and clothing they need and no one would live on the streets. Until then, many thanks to all of you who support this partnership between St. Paul’s and the EAC to help our neighbors in crisis.