Deep Run East Mennonite Church in Perkasie, Pa., grew in new ways in 2020, raising tens of thousands of dollars to address hunger by raising crops on church property.
A 2018 initiative that challenged the congregation to find new and innovative ways to serve God sparked the memory of a 2002 Mennonite Weekly Review article about farmers in Minnesota donating proceeds from crops to the Food Resource Bank (now Growing Hope Globally).
Deep Run East is blessed with 40 tillable acres of land, so in December 2019 the congregation affirmed the idea. Team leaders Phil Nyce, Henry Rice, Mark Schmidt and Kermit Yoder determined soybeans would be planted on May 27.
A month before soybean planting took place, Joe Dise and his uncle Dean Overholt approached the team about wanting to help. Their idea was to plant extra sweet corn to harvest and sell or give to local people in need.
COVID-19 presented challenges for distributing corn safely, so a roadside stand was set up with corn for free or a Crops for Hunger donation, raising $1,333. Those proceeds supported a Growing Hope Globally program in Honduras formulated by church member and former Mennonite Central Committee staff member Joel Kempf.
God blessed Bucks County with a wonderful growing season, timely rain and warm temperatures, producing a crop that exceeded the church’s goal. With a 62 bushel per acre average, 2,496 bushels of soybeans were harvested Nov. 7.
Church member Dale Overholt and his employer, PV Transport, hauled the crop to market, where it was purchased by Weaver’s Toasted Grains in New Holland.
Corn and soybean proceeds totaled $33,499. When payment was received, the check from Weaver’s Toasted Grains was written for more than the agreed-upon price. The owners wanted to help out and generously contributed to the project as well.
Deep Run East is grateful for the many people who helped this project through prayer, labor, materials and money. The congregation was blessed to have used its resources to feed families and communities throughout the world.