New location for Ingathering Nov. 19

ingathering_2016By Amy Forbus

The day is the same—the Saturday before Thanksgiving—as is the mission—helping those in need here in Arkansas and around the world. But the location for Ingathering 2016 is new.

Join hundreds of fellow United Methodists Nov. 19 at the Arkansas Foodbank, 4301 West 65th Street in Little Rock, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a brief worship time at 10 a.m., followed by multiple opportunities to put our faith into action. For more than 30 years, the work done at Ingathering has provided useful disaster response and relief supplies while energizing Jesus’ followers in their call to service.

Ingathering’s new location is a result of the merger earlier this year of the Arkansas Rice Depot and the Arkansas Foodbank. This larger facility provides more space to accommodate the activities connected with this year’s event.

Plenty to do

Ingathering centers on “gathering in” and preparing items to help those who have experienced disaster, food insecurity or other difficulties. Activities this year will include:

  • Receiving and sorting relief supply kits for transport to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, La. From there, the kits go wherever and whenever a need arises because of a flood, earthquake or other disaster. For Ingathering 2016, we will focus primarily on school kits and health kits. These kit lists are included below; visit for a full list of the relief supplies UMCOR distributes worldwide. Please note: UMCOR has had such a strong response to the call for cleaning buckets following the flooding in Baton Rouge, La., that they have announced their current supply is adequate. However, if your church already has assembled cleaning buckets to give, please bring them.
  • Receiving and sorting kitchen utensils and supplies that will be used by students in Cooking Matters classes as part of the 200,000 Reasons initiative to fight childhood hunger in Arkansas. A list of the requested kitchen items is included with this article.
  • Boxing up sweet potatoes for the Foodbank to distribute to Arkansas food pantries. Ingathering and the Foodbank work with the Society of St. Andrew to provide this shipment of bulk produce.
  • Helping to package meals for the Foodbank’s Food for Kids and Food for Seniors programs. If your church has a food pantry, the church will be able to take some of these meals to stock its shelves. Pre-registration is required for this option.
  • Affixing labels to product packaging (priority for these jobs will be given to individuals who cannot stand or move for long periods of time).

How to prepare

Individuals and churches can start getting ready for Ingathering now by visiting That page includes:

  • A link to pre-registration, which includes a free Ingathering t-shirt for the first 300 registrants. (In addition to the free t-shirts, a limited number of zip-front hoodies will be available for $25 on the day of the event.)
  • The Ingathering Remittance Form, which tracks mission-oriented gifts your local church has made, as well as the hours its members have spent in mission.
  • Volunteer release forms that must be downloaded, completed and brought to Ingathering.
  • Links to relief supply kit assembly lists.

Please note the Arkansas Foodbank’s volunteer requirements stipulate that children must be age 10 or older to be allowed to volunteer, and that groups must bring at least one adult for every five persons under age 18.

Early drop-off

For those who cannot attend Ingathering but have supplies to send, contact your district’s Board of Global Ministries secretary to arrange an early drop-off location, date and time: