By Ashley Rader
Members of First United Methodist Church are reaching out to the community and providing assistance not just for spiritual hunger, but for physical hunger as well.
On the second Tuesday of each month, volunteers distribute food from the Second Harvest Food Bank Feeding America program to an average of about 100 community members. Those in need receive dairy products, produce, canned goods, bread items and other assorted food products as they become available.
Missions Committee member and volunteer Lanelle Crockett said the church started working with Second Harvest in October 2011 to offer the food program to the community. Crockett said the program was supported solely by volunteers and collected donations to help cover the cost of the food from the food bank.
She explained the Missions Committee was looking for ways to reach out to the community “We realized the church should not sit empty beyond Sunday,” she said. “We adopted this as a way to serve the community.”
The need found in the community has sometimes overwhelmed the church volunteers.
“Sometimes we can’t hardly handle what we do have,” Crockett said. “Second Harvest has food pantries throughout the area. There are other churches that support the food program.”
The food is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. The church registers recipients and provides each person with a number. Volunteers call the registered numbers to give out the food which helps to streamline the process.
First United Methodist Pastor Ray Amos Sr. said people will arrive at the church early in the day, often hours before the 1:30 p.m. distribution. The first person who arrived Tuesday was waiting at 7:30 a.m. for the distribution.
“We think there are more people out there that could benefit from this, but maybe they don’t know about it or they can’t make it,” Amos said.
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