Prayer breakfast focuses on Neighbor Aid
Neighbor Aid program director Jo-Anne Tweed speaks during the Camrose City and County Prayer Breakfast at CityLights Church on May 10. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
When most look at Camrose, poverty does not pop to mind, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.
Neighbor Aid Camrose has seen a drastic increase in the demand on the services they provide and they are running out of supplies. The Camrose City and County Prayer Breakfast chose to focus in on this organization for their eighth annual early morning congregating meal at CityLights Church on April 10.
“We wanted to feature Neighbor Aid because of the way they unite our various churches and volunteers throughout the community, to meet the need that maybe individually we can’t but together we can,” said Prayer Breakfast committee member Brian Krushel.
Neighbor aid is organized and supported through 20 different churches in Camrose and operates several social services through their volunteer organization. These services include the only food bank in Camrose as well as Martha’s Table, a school breakfast program, medical transportation for those who need to get to appointments in other communities but have no transportation; as well as other services. This is the 20th year Neighbor Aid has been in operation in the city.
The recession has had an impact on Neighbor Aid and the local community, even if it is not easy to see at first.
Martha’s Table is a soup kitchen that serves soup and sandwiches for free at three different churches — Anglican Church, United Church and CityLights Church — throughout Camrose three times a week.
Demand for their food hamper program has gone up considerably to helping as many as 200 local families in a month, though they average about 160 a month.
“The breakfast clubs are now in six local schools, these schools are providing our children with nutritious food five days a week during the school year,” said Neighbor Aid program director Jo-Anne Tweed, who delivered the keynote address. “We are feeding approximately 400 kids per day in this program, that’s a lot of kids, that’s a lot of food, that’s a lot of volunteers, that’s a lot of blessing from God.”
In the past month they’ve helped 15 families financially through their Emergency Fund and Lending Circle, and provided transportation to 32 people for medical appointments in Edmonton in the last four months.
The prayer breakfast is modelled on the National Prayer Breakfast that has taken place annually in Ottawa since 1964. According to a press release from the organization, The purpose of the breakfast is not to convert or exert influence on politicians, but to provide an opportunity for people of varied political and religious backgrounds to come together to pray for the nation.
This year 145 people attended the prayer breakfast in Camrose, hosted by City of Camrose Mayor Norm Mayer and County Reeve Don Gregorwich.
“I believe there was a soul that was given to our community when this place first began, and it’s our opportunity and privilege to care for the soul of this community,” said Krushel. “We do that by praying, coming together not under any political banner but God’s sovereignty. It’s a privilege to call upon God to be a blessing to our community so that we can be a blessing to those around us.”