BLESSED Communion, a Chicago-based company that manufactures pre-filled disposable Communion cups, is reported being deluged with orders for its product ahead of Easter Sunday.
The sealed cups contain grape juice and a single wafer provided in separate compartment on top.
Israel Idonije, above, a former NFL player with the Chicago Bears who founded the company in 2009, said:
Our phones have not stopped ringing in the last two weeks.
In February, the business was producing 300,000 of its pre-filled cups a day; in March that figure doubled to 600,000 daily.
The company manufactures the cups in a 15,000-square-foot facility for customers including churches, ministries, faith-based organsations and individuals around the world.
The surge in demand for the cups has coincided with the fast spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Idonije, whose parents were ministers, said his company is supporting churches that are live streaming services and those that continue to have their doors open for mass but want to offer Holy Communion in a more sanitary way while maintaining social distancing.
Typically, during traditional mass, congregants come forward one by one to take communion. The priest offers the Eucharist, a round wafer, either in their mouth or in their hand. During a special mass, such as Easter mass, they also offer wine from a shared cup.
With pre-filled communion cups, Idonije said congregants can still fully participate in mass. Some Church officials have deemed taking communion at home acceptable during the pandemic.
To keep up with demand, Idonije is prioritisng bulk orders “of 250 to 500 cups,” he said. (100 cups cost $24.97)
We run a lean operation of 20 people. Our facility is still operating and we’re taking all precaution to keep the facility sanitized and all employees protected. The profitable
We’re considered an essential business so we’ve stayed open. We’re up to the task and faith is what we lean on in difficult times.
Disposable pre-filled communion cups, or “Fellowship cups,” for Methodist churches, have also in high demand. Methodists, like Catholics, take Communion.
Said Blake Aldridge, Executive Director of Marketing and Ecommerce for Cokesbury in Nashville, Tennessee:
They’ve been around for a while, but are in significant demand now.
The company has manufactured private-label supplies for Methodist churches since the late 18th century. It now supplies products to institutions affiliated with various faiths.
Cokesbury’s cup sales soared 1,000% in March 2020 compared to March 2019.
We keep running out of inventory and are restocking as fast as we can.
Some churches, he said, are mailing the pre-filled communion cups to their congregants so they have them ready for a livestreamed service. We’ve also heard of churches that are holding service in large parking lots and broadcasting the service over a radio station.
Hat tip: Mark Palmer