Baldwinsville Area churches are meeting the outhouse challenge.
In February, Hillview Community Church issued a challenge to parishioners and churches throughout Central New York – take up a collection for toilet tissue and other personal hygiene paper products.
The congregation decided to collect these items because they cannot be purchased with food stamps.
“So often people fix their attention on providing food through food pantries, but they often forget that a person’s dignity is also important and many items as simple as soap, deodorant and toilet paper is not covered by most assistance programs,” said Hillview Pastor Joe Folckemer.
To provide incentive, Folckemer and Hillview member Dick Anthony built an outhouse and challenged the congregation to fill it with toilet tissue and paper products for PEACE, Inc. They also challenged other churches to borrow the outhouse for their own collections.
After collecting 992 paper products in February, the outhouse then traveled to a church in Port Byron where the congregation collected 1,026 rolls. Then to St. Mary’s in Baldwinsville where 1,469 rolls were collected. In total, the traveling outhouse has collected 3,487 rolls of paper products so far, which have been distributed through PEACE and local food pantries. It has also inspired other area congregations to get involved.
“I am so happy to share that our challenge has already been a great success and more churches are signed up,” Folckemer said. “Our goal has been to have some fun while raising awareness.”
Built to be easily disassembled and moved, the outhouse is scheduled to set up shop at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in September and Baldwinsville’s First Presbyterian Church in October.
“We are still looking for other organizations to fill up the calendars,” he said.
If your church would like to get involved, either by collecting food and personal hygiene items each week or by borrowing the outhouse for your own collection, call Folckemer at 638-0357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.