MILAN — Churches are called to serve their community and make it a better place to live, according to the Rev. Joyce Chamberlin, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, in Milan.
A dinner planned for 5-8 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 312 1st St., West, will help raise money for a Milan Christian Assistance Fund. The fund is a collaborative charity effort organized by Milan area churches.
The fund was created in 2008 with the Milan Christian Food Pantry launching five years later. In addition to First Presbyterian and Ambrose, the other churches involved in both projects include Trinity United Methodist, St. Matthew Lutheran, both in Milan, and St. Patrick Catholic Church in Andalusia.
It's become harder for those churches to find revenues to boost the emergency fund and continue operating the pantry, Chamberlin said.
Participating churches will be represented at the June 1 dinner, and "we hope people in the community will join us and will support our neighbors in need," she said.
The dinner will feature grilled pork or chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, baked beans, chips and "homemade desserts," according to Ambrose member Jackie Christopher, who described herself as "point person," and "mini-project manager."
A donation of $7 is requested. The event also will feature a 50-50 raffle. Local businesses have been really supportive of raffles with some "really neat prizes," Chamberlin said.
The emergency fund has helped about 10 families a year, Chamberlin said. Priority is given to families with children.
The emergency fund is set up to help people living in Milan or southwest Rock Island, on the south side of the Rock River.
"People can only receive help once a year and only in an amount not to exceed $200," according to the St. Matthew Lutheran Church website. Recipients are required to show they've made arrangements to pay bills in the future, she said.
"This continues the relationship we've formed for the food pantry as we've learned each other better," Ambrose member Kelly Wynn said.
Additional funds are provided and administered by Black Hawk Township," Christopher added.
Each denomination has set up seed money, Chamberlin said
"We're excited about it, rain or shine," she said.
Other pastors and priests involved in the fundraising effort are the Rev. Charles Klamut of Ambrose and St. Patrick; the Rev. John Warren, at Trinity Methodist; and the Rev. Robert Hagen, interim retired pastor at St. Matthew, a Missouri Lutheran Church.
It's been a rewarding experience to gather all the different denominations together, Chamberlin said, adding "it's what churches are meant to do."