A Bright Idea Spreads: UCC Conference Gives LED Bulbs to Food Bank Clients


More than 160 new LED light bulbs were brought by visitors and delegates to the UCC’s Penn Central Conference Annual Meeting this June as part of a mission project called “Bright Idea.” These light bulbs were then donated to a food bank in each of the conference’s eight associations. The food banks distributed the bulbs to low income clients.  The clients were asked to replace their most used incandescent light bulb with the LED bulb received. 

The first goal of this mission project was to help families or individuals with little discretionary income to lower their electric bill and lower their carbon emissions by replacing their most used standard light bulb with an LED bulb, as well as to educate on Creation Care / environmental stewardship.  By our calculations, over 17,000 pounds of CO2 emission are saved per year by the use of these 160 LED bulbs. *

The second goal was to model for Penn Central UCC churches, a simple Creation Care action which any church could replicate in their own locale.  New Covenant UCC in Williamsport, PA is the first Penn Central Conference church to announce that it has already implemented “Bright Idea” in partnership with their United Churches of Lycoming County’s Shepherd of the Street.  Thank you New Covenant UCC!

This “Bright Idea” also demonstrates Penn Central’s support of the “Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy” resolution which Penn Central endorsed at its 2015 Annual Meeting and which General Synod 30 strengthened and adopted.

Partnering food banks were asked to distribute the bulbs to individuals or families in the way that worked best for their food bank with a few guide lines:

  • Bright Idea is most effective if the bulbs go to people who pay an electric bill so they can track how the LED bulb helps with their electric usage and expenses.
  • As education on energy conservation is great, an informational sticker was placed on each box with information on the average amount clients might see their electric bill and carbon emissions decrease and how to learn more about energy efficient lighting.
  • If the partnering food bank’s personnel and time permit, clients could bring in an electric bill when they receive their bulb and then again in 6 months to assist client’s understanding of the energy saved, lower electric bill, and fewer carbon emissions.
  • The food banks were encouraged to partner with churches in their locale to continue this project.  It is easy to do and truly makes a difference.

We give thanks for “Bright Idea” which comes from Central Baptist Church in Wayne, PA which shared it with Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light.

* Replacing one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with one 60-watt equivalent LED light bulb saves over 110 pounds of CO2 emissions per year from entering the atmosphere and may save $11 per year on your electricity bill (using an average of 6.9 hours of use per day and a cost of $.085 per KWH of electricity)  

Libby Loser is one of the leaders of the Penn Central Green Justice Team.

Categories: Column The Pollinator: UCC Environmental Justice Blog

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