KOKOMO, Ind.—”Sometimes as a youth pastor, you are presented an opportunity that is a no-brainer,” says Paul Weaver, youth pastor at Bible Baptist Church. “Yes, We Can,” a canned-food drive organized by the Kokomo Rescue Mission, is one of those events.
Each year since 1995, youth groups from churches in the Kokomo area work together to collect canned goods for the Kokomo Rescue Mission and then gather to pray, sing, and fellowship. “I can’t sign up our youth group quick enough for an event like that,” Weaver says.
“Yes, We Can” is similar to a door-to-door scavenger hunt, except the teens collect food. On Sept. 14 teams of teens were assigned sections of the city and knocked on every door in the area, asking for donations of canned goods. Churches also gathered cans in advance to donate.
When they were finished knocking on doors, the teams met back at Bible Baptist Church to weigh the cans, eat pizza, sing praise songs, and pray for their schools. The Rescue Mission also shared a testimony of a person who has benefited and then announced the results of the drive. This year around 300 teens collected more than nine tons of food.
Bible Baptist Church has hosted this annual event for several years. People in the community know when it will occur, because the Rescue Mission promotes it through radio and in newspapers. The donated items are used in meals for Kokomo Rescue Mission’s public dining room, the residents who stay in the mission’s shelters, and grocery orders. In 2013 Kokomo Rescue Mission served 118,076 free meals.
“I love this event,” Weaver says. “Our teens see that they can accomplish something great, see the responsibility to share God’s love in our community, and get to work together with other Christians.”