By Mary Ann Rush
RUSSELLVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 21, 2016) -- The Loaves and Fish Ministry is a faith-based ministry through Russellville United Methodist Church whose mission is to feed the bodies and souls of hungry children in the community.
The Loaves and Fish Ministry sponsors a food backpack program in three local schools in the community (Russellville Primary, Russellville Intermediate, and East Ridge Middle School). Through this program, the students and their siblings are provided nourishing snacks to take home on the weekends. Research shows that this is a crucial time when children often do not have enough to eat.
The Loaves and Fish Ministry also provides food boxes for the families of these students during non-school times during the year as well as holidays. This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, and summer break.
In addition to food, this ministry provides warm clothing such as coats, hats, gloves, and socks, as well as blankets, to be used during the winter season when many families are faced with reduced heating in their homes in order to save money for other necessities.
The Loaves and Fish Ministry provides Christmas presents to the students and feeds the families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
The Loaves and Fish Ministry also is available to help families during crisis situations.
Through God’s blessings, this program has been able to continue for four years. The members of the church hold quarterly fundraisers such as spaghetti suppers, pancake breakfasts, and yard sales to help support this ministry. In the past two years, members have been making hymnal angels and selling them with all proceeds benefiting this ministry.
Since the beginning, the children that benefit from this ministry have grown from 13 to 95. For the 2015-16 school year, the ministry served an average of 74 children in the community each week with the food bags. Our hope is that we can continue to provide the food bags as well as provide the children and families food during times when school is not in session.
The church always appreciates any monetary donation for this program. Checks can be made to Russellville United Methodist Church Food Ministry and mailed to Mary Ann Rush, Coordinator of Food Ministries, 3080 Chucky River Road, Morristown, TN 37813.
God has been good to us allowing us to become a part of these children’s lives. By nourishing their bodies, we share God’s love, and we want each of these children to know how much they are loved.
Find out how other Holston congregations are reaching out to local in children in poverty at WaytoGive.Holston.org.