MCC Photo/Rachel Sommer

Raynor Krahn (left) and Stanley Toews deliver green beans canned by volunteers at the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Harrisburg, Pa., to the Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church.

The 4,000 pounds of green beans that volunteers canned at the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Harrisburg this summer are now being distributed through local ministries in Pennsylvania.

Volunteers from around the globe used Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) mobile cannery to preserve green beans in July as a service activity during the conference.

Each year, MCC’s mobile cannery and its crew travel throughout the U.S. and Canada. Crew members work with more than 30,000 volunteers who prepare cans of turkey, beef, chicken and pork to be distributed through MCC’s worldwide ministries.

Volunteers can green beans for MCC during the MCC canning service opportunity at Pennsylvania 2015, the Mennonite World Conference Assembly held in Harrisburg, Pa., July 21-25, 2015.​ (MCC Photo/Brenda Burkholder)

But this July, the food was green beans and the distribution is local.

MCC East Coast invited churches and church-affiliated nonprofits working to meet the basic human needs of people living in central Pennsylvania to partner with MCC in distributing the vegetables.

“This effort provided a new opportunity for MCC to collaborate with organizations that play a critical role in serving marginalized people in central Pennsylvania,” said Bruce Campbell-Janz, executive director of MCC East Coast.

Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church received 14 cases of green beans. Lynda Gephart, pastor of congregational life, said the church will distribute the beans through their food pantry, which serves 85 households.

“Our congregation is multicultural, and our food pantry serves people from around the globe,” Gephart said. “It’s wonderful to think these gifts were given by people from all over the world to others who are now part of our community.”

The congregation also plans to serve the canned beans during the community dinners they prepare on Wednesday evenings, which serve up to 150 people each week. In November, they will include the beans in Thanksgiving boxes. These boxes, which also contain turkey, potatoes and pie, offer recipients the supplies to prepare Thanksgiving dinner in their homes.

Other local ministries distributing the beans canned at the Mennonite World Conference Assembly include Paxton Ministries (Harrisburg, Pa.), the Lancaster County Council of Churches (Lancaster, Pa.), Jubilee Ministries (Lebanon, Pa.) and Water Street Mission (Lancaster, Pa.). Together, these ministries provide food to thousands of marginalized people living in the region. 

“This service opportunity allowed us to invite the global Anabaptist community to participate in offering a blessing to folks in need in this region while walking with local Christian agencies who reach out daily in the name of Christ,” said Campbell-Janz. “We’re grateful for all the contributions that make this work possible.”