WASHINGTON — While many of the Washington area churches have gone to online services for safety purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic, that isn’t stopping them from continuing to serve their communities. Discussions following a successful food drive on May 26 have led seven established religious congregations in Washington to form the Washington Council of Congregations, according to a statement from organizers. The goal of the council is to magnify impact and unify forces to better serve their neighbors through a variety of collaborative efforts, members said

Already, the Washington Council of Congregations has two recurring projects underway — first a Drive-Thru Food Drive at the First Congregational Church of Washington June 27, and a weekly collection of fresh fruits and vegetables at the Washington Farmer’s Market.

The May Drive-Thru Food Drive, planned and executed by the First Congregational Church of Washington, drew 140 vehicles at drop off; generating 2,770 pounds of food and personal care and household items, as well as $6,000 in cash donations. The WCOC anticipates that the June drive will produce even more support, with all contributions, once again, benefiting the Washington-Warren and New Milford Food Banks, members said.

“Since the spread of COVID-19, the New Milford food bank has experienced a 20 percent increase in need. If there was ever a time for our community to give generously and help our neighbors in need, it’s now,” said Joseph Claro, St. John’s Parishioner and coordinator for the June 27 drive.

That event runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church or Washington (on the Green). Donors are asked to remain in their cars while volunteers, wearing gloves and masks, remove contributions from their vehicle backseats or trunks. Monetary donations will also be accepted and should be made payable to St. John’s Church.

The Washington Farmer’s Market fruit and vegetable collection project will see farmers, and local gardeners alike, donate their excess produce to be crafted into healthy meals for those in need by the Community Culinary Institute of Northwest Connecticut. The WCOC will have a representative on site each Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Judy Black Park to gather and deliver donations.

For more information about the Washington Council of Congregations or how to get involved, contact St. John’s Church at stjohnschurch@snet.net.

Connecticut Media Group