The local school is a favorite landmark. We tell people all the time, “The road turns at the school, and then you can’t miss us.” The school and church look like a matched set. The school is built of the same kind of rock as the church. Many of our members attended the school when it was a high school and when it became an elementary school. Several of our members work at or attend the school today. So when our Missions team was looking for new ideas to serve our community, we kept finding ourselves staring across the road to the school. Surely, we thought, we should help them.
We met with the principal of the school to ask what how we could get involved in improving the life of their teachers or students. The principal was stumped for a little while, until we asked, “What did you worry about for your students during the ice storm that shut down Bois D’Arc for more than a week?” The principal said the main worry was food. A lot of the kids in the area rely on the school for two hot meals a day. When school is not in session because of the weekend, a vacation, or an ice storm, she was left wondering if they had enough to eat. With working parents and stretched budgets, some kids have to fend for themselves at mealtimes. We decided to fend for them.
Each Friday, children with need identified by school officials (but whose identities are unknown to us) are provided with a backpack with enough ready-to-eat healthy food to last them until Monday. The kids don’t know who provides the food, and we don’t know who receives the food. We just supply the food.
This ministry has been part of the heart of BDUMC for six years, and the need continues to tug at our hearts. We started by doing several food and school supply drives throughout the year, but the United Methodist Women adopted this project last year and streamlined our efforts. Now we have a dedicated shopper for the program and a yearly supply and food drive.
This program is such a blessing to our church. It is awesome to know that our simple efforts mean that kids aren’t hungry when they are away from school. You can bring food supplies at any time, and a school staff member will take them directly to the school.