Church uses 'bean poll' to involve community in hunger ministries - Word&Way

Church uses ‘bean poll’ to involve community in hunger ministries

MECHANICSVILLE, Va.—“It can be fun to do good for others,” says Jeff Scott, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, Va. That’s why the congregation is asking area voters, “Which presidential candidate is the most full of beans?” and using donations of canned beans to benefit its Loaves & Fishes food ministries.

“So often we hear people complaining about politicians, saying this one or that one is full of beans,” Scott said. “So we came up with the idea of the ‘Northside Bean Poll’ to raise awareness of the election and the responsibilities of Christian citizenship and to involve the community in providing food for needy families.”

Between now and Nov. 4, the Sunday before the presidential election, people can cast their vote by donating a can of beans. Unlike the real election, people can vote as often as they like. Scott has encouraged his members to vote early, vote often and encourage their neighbors and friends to play along, too.

Last year Northside Baptist Church’s Loaves & Fishes food ministry gave away over 150 tons of food to area needy. Food is distributed twice a month on Fridays and Scott says an increasing number of under-employed families take advantage of the ministry.

“They’re just not making enough to get by and our assistance helps them stretch their budget,” he said.

Loaves & Fishes also provides bags of food for organizations such as the Church Hill Wellness Center in Richmond and CARITAS, a ministry to the homeless.

Northside Baptist also operates a Bistro, delivering food to the homebound or anyone who may be in need of a hot meal, said Scott. The church partners with Kroger and three days a week volunteers pick up unsold food prepared for its hot food bar, assemble the meals and deliver them.

 “The more votes cast in the ‘Northside Bean Poll’ the more people will benefit,” said Scott. Voters who believe all politicians are full of beans are welcome to cast an equal number of votes for each candidate, he added.

Barbara Francis ( is on the staff of the Religious Herald.