Last week, a local church was challenged to not buy groceries and instead donate the money to the Winkler and District Food Cupboard. Pastor of Pathway Community Church in Winkler, Rob Haslam, wanted to show his congregation a creative way to be charitable.
"We were looking for a very practical mechanism we can use to show people that there's more that they can do than they think," said Haslam.
He did some research and got the idea from a church in the U.S.
The challenge included eating what is in your fridge, freezer, and pantry for one week. People were asked not to grocery shop, eat at restaurants, or even purchase their morning coffee at a gas station.
"We all have a lot of food in our homes that we don't always recognize," explained Haslam. "Instead of eating out, instead of going out for grocery shopping, let's just save it, pool it together, and bless those who don't have."
The congregation really responded to this idea and decided to make the sacrifice.
For example, many people ate cereal and pancakes for breakfast, said Haslam. He also noted that people started making coffee at home rather than buying it. One person even made her own butter, which she required for a family gathering. The same woman also needed noodles for soup, and decided to make those as well.
"There's a unique thing that takes place when the entire family engages (in) these things together," Haslam noted.
Haslam admitted that he was in need of milk, so his wife decided to buy it from the store. However, his twelve year old daughter held the family accountable by questioning if this money should be added to their donation.
"The beauty is that even my 12 year old daughter got so excited about what we were doing," said Haslam. "It caught her imagination of what could take place and what could be done."
Haslam also said the challenge was meant to shake up the everyday routines that people find themselves in.
"We wake up in the morning and we have our routines... sometimes we get so busy just living and we don't necessarily live with purpose," he said.
When reflecting on the amount of money raised, Haslam said he was surprised.
"As we were counting we were just blown away by the gracious generosity," he said.
Haslam added that the Eat Weird Challenge could become an annual event.