Collection Bags

One of the current discussions ongoing in my parish is among hospitality ministers (ushers) about baskets. I’m interested in hearing worldly input on this.

The current procedures involves one basket per row. Eight people work four sections of pews: one starts a basket on one side, and a second person receive the basket at the end of the row. Repeat nineteen times on the south side, sixteen times on the north.

When I arrived, I immediately heard that the baskets were mostly in disrepair and could we replace them? Sure, I thought; let’s get some from our mission parish in Honduras and support local craftspeople there. Unfortunately, circumstances conspired to close off that option, so we ordered some stacks from a restaurant supplier.

Alas, the new baskets, touted as “stackable” by a caterer, really aren’t when we’re talking twenty at a time being carried by a person on the go. Which brings us to the moment of truth …

Is it totally off the wall to be thinking that maybe baskets aren’t the way to go? What about a nice cloth bag? Anybody out there with some original collection ideas? Something to keep the pennies rolling in and the collectors happy?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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6 Responses to Collection Bags

  1. Liam says:

    Pay an unemployed person in need of work to get the necessary materials from a local craft place and make lined baskets (lining is advisable). Don’t overthink or overdesign this – that’s an unnecessary waste. And charity begins at home.

  2. John Drake says:

    Those old-time baskets with the long handles still work pretty well. And the ushers can move them along fairly rapidly. No pew-sitters need to get up to pass the basket to the guy at the far end of the row. Thus, greater attention to singing the offertory hymn.

    And then there is the always welcome “direct deposit” option!

  3. Mike says:

    I’ll second John’s recommendation.

  4. Jeff says:

    Hi Todd,

    Do the baskets always need to travel in one direction? Why couldn’t one basket be taken from the end of one pew and then passed back the other way in the next pew? You, then, give a basket to every other pew in the section of the church, with the 2nd person picking them up a couple of seconds later. I’ve seen this work wonderfully in other parishes and you only need half the baskets then. Would this solve the problem?

  5. Brigid Rauch says:

    At one church I visited, baskets were tucked under each of the rows of pews. At the Offertory, they were passed from the outside to the inside. The last person to receive the basket stepped into the main aisle to join the procession of gifts and went up to the altar to tip the contents into the single collection basket.

    It’s been a while and I’m fuzzy on the details, but I think you get the idea. At this same church, Eucharistic Ministers who were taking Communion to the sick were summoned as a group after everyone else received. As they received the Host in their pyxes, they were blessed and commissioned and the sick of the parish were prayed for. Probably this practice isn’t in the Roman Missal, but it made a lot of sense to me!

  6. Jimmy Mac says:

    @ Jeff (#4):

    I’ve also seen this work and it works well, quickly and requires not much more ability of the ushers than to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

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