Over the last year, faith communities have discovered different ways to keep people connected, even while forced to be physically-distant. In our congregation, one way that groups have stayed connected with one another is through the delivering of a “porch drop.” Porch drops are surprise deliveries of goodies and notes, left on a doorstep or in a mailbox. This idea organically developed early in the pandemic as a way to send thinking-of-you reminders who members of our congregation who live alone or are homebound. However, we’ve also done porch drops to celebrate graduating high school students, to thank ministry volunteers, and to deliver stockings full of Christmas goodies to children and youth. These deliveries were planned and executed by various small groups and ministry teams across the congregation.
In April, we decided to take this porch drop idea to a new level and involve our whole congregation in the effort. When our high school youth group needed a way to raise funds to support our service trip for this summer, our adult mentors hashed out the plan for an “adopt a porch drop” fundraiser. The concept was simple: people could purchase a porch drop packages and have it delivered to local family and friends. Packages included baked goods, snacks, a handwritten card, and surprise items for one of four possible themes: outdoor fun (outdoor toys and games), graduation, spring “thinking of you” (flower seeds and spring-themed items), and Mother’s Day. Purchasers also had the option of sending the drop anonymously, and they could include a special note or message in the card. We sold basic packages for $10 each and upgraded packages for $15. Because of item donations and dollar store purchases, we made about 50% profit, all of which will go to support service work this summer with local community partners.
This project became a truly intergenerational effort. Families made baked goods and snacks. Youth wrote cards, assembled gift bags with the goodies, and delivered porch drops to recipients. One member donated products from her self-care business (lotions, lip balms, teas, etc.) to include in the bags. Households of all shapes and sizes purchased packages to send.
What I found most beautiful about this project is that, through the generosity of our congregation, many members of our community received encouragement and joy. We delivered 78 packages, many to homebound members, people celebrating milestones, and even households who have joined our congregation during the last twelve months. Families sent packages to grandparents and friends who they have not seen for months. Through the simple act of leaving surprises on a doorstep, many different people were given a reminder of how much they are loved, both by God and their church community. These porch drops became blessings to those who needed encouragement and cheer during this season.
As we come out of this pandemic and start to gather in-person again, I hope the porch drops continue in our community. It’s one example of a ministry pivot that has energized us and brought life to connections and groups within our congregation.