It was the first Saturday in December when nearly forty volunteers from St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie gathered at MATTER to kick-off their first annual Holiday Giving Program. Designed as an outreach to the local community during the holiday season, St. Andrew chose to fund and pack MATTERbox meal kits.

With Christmas in the air and goodwill in their hearts, the volunteers enthusiastically packed 128 meal kits, 60 of which were designated to be sent to The Link, a Minneapolis-based organization that works with youth to help them overcome the impact of poverty and social injustice. Pastor Peter Johnson explained why they chose The Link to receive some of the meal kits.

“The Link was specifically chosen for their work with homeless youth, sex trafficking, and families. This is an area of interest for St. Andrew, as we have members involved with human trafficking awareness and prevention. More generally, Holiday Giving is meant to be a program for the local Minneapolis community. While other missions of St. Andrew are focused on international programs, MATTER provided a chance to make a difference locally.”

Filled with nutritious food and recipes, MATTERbox meal kits provide not only healthy food, but the opportunity to learn basic cooking skills. For many young people at The Link who are coming out of homelessness, cooking is an important life skill they need to learn. The Link’s Corporate Engagement Officer, Jelena Song, shared one young person’s reaction when he received one of the meal kits from the Holiday Giving Program.

“We delivered meal kits to one of our housing programs in North Minneapolis which services 24 youth who have previously experienced homelessness. One young man was so excited to get his box. He loved that there were recipes included with the food and he was so impressed by what he was able to cook with the items in the box. It’s a wonderful thing when a young person is able to try something new and feel a sense of pride. It also creates self-sufficiency in learning new cooking skills!”

MATTER is proud to help organizations like The Link that are on the front lines of combating youth homelessness, poverty and injustice. We also are grateful for congregations like St. Andrew that are seeking ways to make a difference in our communities. By collaborating together, we provided more than just nutritious food to young people. We gave them a sense that they matter. That their lives are worth the time and resources of others in the community. Giving these young people that sense of worth and dignity can serve as the catalyst to help them transform their lives, which in turn can transform a whole community.

“Providing youth experiencing homelessness with basic needs stabilizes and enhances the social fabric of the community as a whole by reinforcing the need for mutual care for those who need it. We truly appreciate the generosity of St. Andrew in providing the meal kits, and for the other essential items that MATTER has provided. They help youth in our housing programs stay warm, hydrated, nourished, and safe during the winter months!” Jelena Song

MATTER exists to help organizations and individuals fulfill their missions and dreams. With our vast network of resources and partners both in Minnesota and around the world, we can be the channel through which you or your organization can make this world a better place. Just as we did in helping St. Andrew with their inaugural Holiday Giving Program this year. As Pastor Johnson explained,

“St. Andrew is a place that encourages people to live out their faith in daily life. We hope to be a part of changing the world to the better, and MATTER allows for us a place to put our hearts into action.”

We believe you MATTER and collaborating helps community causes come to life! Contact us to let us know how you want to change the world. Together, we can send that message of worth and dignity to people who need it most and watch their lives and communities transform. Let’s get started today!