In the spring of 2022, Kathy Douglas initiated an online meeting for Hamilton area United Churches to talk about sharing a summer Bible-Camp-type program. Steven Barabash, the Community Outreach Leader at Barton Stone Mount Hope United Church in Hamilton, and Pam Byers, the volunteer camp coordinator at Emmanuel United Church in Hamilton, took part and agreed to look at the possibility of Steven doing a program at Emmanuel. The result was a 5-morning Baking and Food Justice Camp at Emmanuel, July 11-1, with 15 children, ages 9 – 14 taking part.
Each day Steven led the kids in baking something different, taught them a few baking skills and talked to the kids about justice issues related to food, such as Fair Trade and buying local. Pam coordinated the volunteer team of 6 adults that helped with set-up, child assistance and clean up, plus she used spiritual resources (Hebrew, Christian, Taoism and Indigenous wisdom) to introduce social norms about the sharing of food with those in need and caring for the world
that have existed since the beginning of time.
Both the children and their parents expressed how delighted they were with the program. Instead of charging a set fee, Emmanuel asked for donations to help cover the expenses and the donations received reflected their appreciation by more than covering the expenses of about $40 per child.
As adults at Emmanuel heard about the program they expressed the desire for a similar program for them, so Steven and Pam will continue to work on that possibility in the fall. We also hope this will lead to further cooperation among the United Churches in the Hamilton area.