Canada: A foodbank that shows God’s love to students
All around the world, students are displaying God’s love in practical ways. In the DRC, they use sports, in Cuba, they use comedy, drama and sweets, and in Canada, students are using gifts of groceries to demonstrate God’s love to students who are struggling financially.
Naomie is a final year student. Originally from Cameroon, she has been studying in Trois-Rivières in Quebec, Canada, for three years. She’s part of GBUC, the Francophone student movement in Canada. She is also president of Le Bon Camarade, a GBU initiative which delivers food parcels to students in financial difficulties. The demand is high; already with over 100 beneficiaries, a new person is added nearly every week. Most of these are international students, who are less likely than domestic students to have support available from their families or home communities.
While most of the student beneficiaries work, they often don’t earn enough to make ends meet. Helping students with the basics, explains Naomie, allows them to concentrate on their studies, while enabling them to save a portion of their earnings. One beneficiary testifies that if Le Bon Camarade hadn’t helped him at university, he wouldn’t have been able to start his business.
‘One of the pillars of GBU’, shares Naomie, ‘is to share God’s love. We have a weekly table with Bibles and Christian books that anyone can take. It’s great that we’ve now been recognised as an essential service at the university. Something that also helps is the fact that our office is located very close to the cafeteria, so we get lots of people coming through. In addition to food, people also come to us for information about university life. We want to help create community.’
It’s not always easy. ‘The demand is very high compared to what we have to offer’, says Naomie. ‘We can’t give very much, and we try to do a little bit extra at Christmas. We fundraise so that we can afford to give out gift cards, as well as New Testaments and other Christian books.’
However, a commitment to the ‘pillar’ of God’s love has, in the past, also caused problems for Le Bon Camarade. Their supplier was hesitant to work with them if they continued with religious elements, believing that the initiative was designed to trap people into Christianity. While this tension existed for several years, the whole team was adamant that Le Bon Camarade exists, first and foremost, to demonstrate the gospel. Finally, a few months ago, with misunderstandings worked through and one partner moving on, the future was secured. Naomie calls it a miracle. ‘It really strengthened our faith to see how God is working in our favour.’
‘When I first came here, I was afraid I would lose my faith in a new country. But praying together, seeing the beneficiaries happy, seeing the difference we can make, and seeing how God has helped us through challenges, has made me believe again that he answers prayers.’
Pray with us for Naomie, Le Bon Camarade, and GBUC Canada:
- Pray for the long-term sustainability of Le Bon Camarade, and especially that over the summer new students would take over the work. Pray that it would remain a thoroughly Christian initiative.
- Pray for more partnerships with suppliers, and for more opportunities to share the gospel through food.
- Pray that students in Quebec, both international and Canadian, would know and embrace the love of God that is being offered to them by the GBU. Pray for God to sustain and bless GBU Canada in every way.