CHANGE FOR CHILDREN: Trentville provides coats and shoes, fish and bread for the needy
By Rheta Murry
Three outreach programs organized by Trentville United Methodist Church
in Strawberry Plains, Tenn., can serve more children and youth, thanks
to a $1,000 Change for Children Grant.
The small Knoxville District church leads three ministries: Coats & Shoes, Fish & Bread, and Community Outreach, all designed to reach out to the community.
“The first thing we thought was, how many more kids can we give coats and shoes,” said Ann Smith, referring to the grant. “At first, I didn’t even know there was such a grant out there."
Half of the
money will be used for the Coats & Shoes program, while Fish &
Bread and Community Outreach will get $250 each, Smith said.
For the past four or five years, the church has provided coats and shoes to children primarily from Carter Elementary (Knox County) and North View Elementary (Sevier County). Smith said the congregation works closely with school faculty to identify needs. The children receive the shoes just after school starts each year.
Once each month, Trentville UMC also provides a low-cost meal through its Fish
& Bread Ministry. Spearheaded by Jeannette Head, this project not
only serves a meal at the church to anyone who comes, but also
delivers meals on request to the elderly.
“We are feeding about 100 people a month,” Smith said. “Our biggest majority is deliveries now. We normally deliver 75 to 80 meals.” Smith said church members visit with the people who come to eat, learning of their needs and inviting them to worship.
The Outreach Ministry, headed by the Rev. Steve Evans and Matt Heath, provides opportunities for youth to invite others to attend worship and youth meetings each week. Once a quarter, Trentville sponsors an event such as a pool party or VBS-like event with music and food in a nearby trailer park and apartment complex.
“We try to let them know God loves them and we do, too, and want to help them,” Smith said.