By Kevin Gingerich*
The Sheldon United Methodist Church had a vision last fall of feeding the back-pack children throughout the summer. We made the vision a reality this summer. We are feeding about 25 children and 15 adults a warm meal Monday through Friday. Other churches in our community have come along side us with some financial and volunteer support. We started with hopes people would provide our needs and as a church board willing to fund the project as needed. We now have over $2000 in the Summer Lunch Program account, and our shelves are full!
We started June 9. It was a rainy day, and only one child came. But we fed the one. The next day we had 5, and by weeks end we were up to 15 children. It has grown since then. Our peak number served in one day so far is 56 plus the 5 or 6 workers. We start cooking at 10:00 a.m. and serve from 11:00 – 1:00.
In our second week we had a couple of men stop by that were “looking for work” and wondered if they could eat. Pastor Kevin thought that they were not really looking for work, but we gladly fed them. The next day the one came back with his two children and several nieces and nephews and his mother. They all ate their fill, and he was so thankful. A week later he came in and said he found a job. He starts work the next Monday. When Monday came, his family was here, but he wasn’t. Two days later Pastor Kevin saw him in the grocery, and he was so thankful for the short term assistance. He has a job, and he is able to afford food to feed his own family. This made the whole program so successful.
Several of the children came into the kitchen and asked what Tricia was doing. “Making cookies” was her reply. Doing what? Then we realized these children had never made cookies using raw ingredients. The next day we invited a few children to come in and help make cookies. They were thrilled, and even cheered when they got to clean up. The program is beyond our wildest dreams. We are so glad we responded to God’s call.
*Rev. Kevin Gingerich is pastor of the Sheldon UMC