Easter Outreach started small and with a very simple goal: to feed some of Philadelphia’s hungriest families, even if for only one day.
In early 2010, a zip code in North Philadelphia was named the hungriest in America. Realizing that this neighborhood was right in their backyard, a team from Liberti Church East was compelled to act. That spring, they raised some money, put an ad in the local newspaper, and gathered volunteers the day before Easter to distribute 100 dinners. They knew that, while this wouldn’t fix Philadelphia’s hunger problem, this one meal was a tangible way of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus by offering a glimpse of his hope to friends and neighbors in need.
The following year, Liberti Church Fairmount and Liberti Church Center City joined the effort. Together they distributed 1,000 meals! By 2012, the organizers realized that this celebration of the resurrection didn’t need to be limited to Philadelphia, or even the United States. So, they teamed up with Water is Basic, an organization that builds wells in South Sudan, to provide clean drinking water to communities that wouldn’t otherwise have it.
Each year, Easter Outreach has been able to raise more money, rally more volunteers, and distribute more meals to our neighbors. The range of this project has grown too: what started in North Philadelphia now extends not only throughout this city, but to Chester, Norristown, Harrisburg, and Camden, NJ as well. The partnership with organizations such as Philabundance, the largest food distributor in the Philadelphia region, is paramount to the success of Easter Outreach. We have been able to add dozens of community partners: churches throughout the region that are able to offer their congregants meaningful opportunities to volunteer and give. These invaluable partnerships also enable us to better engage with the community on a hyperlocal basis.
In 2017, over 60 community partners and 1,500 volunteers helped distribute 6,000 Easter dinners in the greater Philadelphia area and fund 1,700 water filters in South Sudan. This year, we hope to engage even more partners and volunteers, so that we can reach even more people with 8,000 meals in Philadelphia and famine relief and clean water in South Sudan.
The resurrection of Jesus affirms that the provision of fundamental resources such as food, water, and community have significant meaning. Satisfying someone’s hunger or thirst for just one day offers a glimpse of the coming Kingdom. Connecting friends and neighbors in need to the local church offers them substantial hope here and now. Easter Outreach celebrates the resurrection through simple dinners at Easter, with the hope that they create lasting connections throughout the year.
We would love for you to join us in this endeavor!
Our mission is both local and global. Here in the greater Philadelphia area, we seek to provide families with an Easter meal, with the hope that this meal leads to lasting connections within the community. Meanwhile, we also support the provision of clean drinking water to communities in South Sudan. All of this is in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, and proclaims God’s Kingdom to all the earth.
Called and sent by God’s Spirit, we seek to live, speak, and serve as the very presence of Christ to the world, by reaching out to our neighbors with the story of Christ, while simultaneously seeking to reflect His ministry of mercy through the giving of food and water to those in need.