Twice this summer, families from the Albright congregation have jumped in their cars and driven over to the church parking lot to take part in drive-in days.
“We wanted to see people and provide an opportunity for our congregation to do something collectively that would benefit a local charity”, says Lorna Woroniak, Albright’s Administrator. “And, at each station, it was great to be able to say, ‘How are you doing?’ and to share a little, even though briefly.”
Winnipeg Harvest and a Crisis Pregnancy Centre were each chosen as a designated charity for one of the drive-ins. Keeping to the current restrictions, they set up their parking lot, using traffic cones to mark out four stations in a horseshoe configuration. A pastor, staff, or ministry leader stood at each station and each week they varied some of the station activities.
As people drove in within the two-hour timeslot, they were met at the first station by greeter Senior Pastor Sam Devine who talked with everyone from the designated distance. From there cars rolled up to the 2nd station which was prepared with children in mind and the Children’s Ministry Director, Cheryl Goings was in charge of this one. Here, one week, a puppet chatted & bantered with the kids and each child was given 2 new crayons and a simple drawing of a child that they were asked to colour, put their name on and keep till they got to the 4th station.
On the 2nd drive-in week when the Pregnancy Centre was the chosen charity, children were invited to bring baby dolls to show and the Pregnancy Centre gave a little take-home gift for each child. At station 3, Pastor Rob Ford waited to say hi to everyone and keep the traffic flow going. Station 4 was the drop-off where Pastor Nathan Wachal and Lorna Woroniak collected donations from people’s trunks.
On the first week, when the children coloured pictures, they collected these and mounted them on a large board erected for the occasion, to show that the children had been there in support of Winnipeg Harvest.
On the second week, after the donation was collected, a ‘dunk tank’ option awaited. People could request any of the pastors or staff to sit in a chair, specially rigged with a bucket of water suspended over top. Participants were handed a sanitized ball which they could throw at a target to tip the bucket. Many threw their ball from their car windows, and others stepped outside to improve their aim, all from an appropriate distance, of course. There was plenty of arm waving and horn honking as each car headed for home.
Albright is very pleased with the success of each of these weeks, both in terms of the personal connection and with the donations received for the charities. They collected 1,600 pounds of food for Winnipeg Harvest, and 6,000 diapers, 12,000 baby wipes and 25 cans of formula for the Crisis Pregnancy Centre. They are planning a third drive-in event for August.