Want a reason to fight childhood hunger? Arkansas has 200,000 of them.

A 200K Reasons initiative update

By Martha TaylorHunger Logo - FINAL
Special Contributor

This month’s Veritas youth gathering in Hot Springs will be first event where the 200,000 Reasons Childhood Hunger Initiative will have a public presence.

A resolution approved by the 2014 Arkansas Annual Conference called for all United Methodist churches to focus on fighting childhood hunger in Arkansas for the next three years. Following several task force gatherings, the initiative was named 200,000 Reasons, a reference to the estimated number of children in Arkansas who are hungry or suffer from food insufficiency.

Work as worship for ‘Super Bold Sunday’: Lakewood UMC North Little Rock spent Sunday, Feb. 1 working in partnership with The Pack Shack, a Rogers-based non-profit that helps provide food for hungry Arkansans. The Pack Shack hosts parties where crowds of people pack thousands of delicious, nutritious meals that go straight to local organizations that feed the hungry. After an abbreviated 30-minute worship service, participants moved en masse to Wesley Hall, where The Pack Shack’s tables and equipment were ready to go! The energy was contagious, with all ages working together to assemble the meals. The end result: 16,700 meals for Gardner UMC North Little Rock’s Food Pantry in less than two hours. —submitted by Joseph Roitz

Work as worship for ‘Super Bold Sunday’: Lakewood UMC North Little Rock spent Sunday, Feb. 1 working in partnership with The Pack Shack, a Rogers-based non-profit that helps provide food for hungry Arkansans. The Pack Shack hosts parties where crowds of people pack thousands of delicious, nutritious meals that go straight to local organizations that feed the hungry. After an abbreviated 30-minute worship service, participants moved en masse to Wesley Hall, where The Pack Shack’s tables and equipment were ready to go! The energy was contagious, with all ages working together to assemble the meals. The end result: 16,700 meals for Gardner UMC North Little Rock’s Food Pantry in less than two hours.
—submitted by Joseph Roitz

Led by the initiative’s task force facilitator, the Rev. J. J. Whitney, and assisted by Deaconess Colleen Caldwell, 200K Reasons initiative task force is finalizing a mission statement and goals for the coming year. These goals will be shared as soon as they are reviewed by the Extended Cabinet.

The task force also is talking with the Rev. Maxine Allen and the Conference Board of Global Ministries to coordinate efforts involving the fight against childhood hunger as part of Ingathering 2015.

Whitney plans to use social media extensively to share the message with youth and young adults.

“It is going to be very exciting to be able to connect United Methodists of all ages in so many ways,” said Whitney, “With the help of the Center for Technology, we’re going to have a strong online presence where anyone will be able to learn about the progress toward reducing childhood hunger in Arkansas and how they can help.”

Honoring a memory by providing help to others: Dontaye and Dorminita Frazier, members of St. Mark UMC Pine Bluff, in late 2014 delivered an abundance of canned goods, dried food products, and toiletries given through the newly established Annie Mae Frazier Foundation.  Because of this extravagant giving, the congregation was able to bless several families in need in Pine Bluff. The church worked in partnership with House of Levi, a non-profit organization providing social services to families in the Jefferson County area, to share these gifts with the community. The new foundation was named for the Fraziers’ grandmother, who died in October 2014 at age 89 and was known for her passion for helping others.   —submitted by the Rev. Edna Morgan

Honoring a memory by providing help to others: Dontaye and Dorminita Frazier, members of St. Mark UMC Pine Bluff, in late 2014 delivered an abundance of canned goods, dried food products, and toiletries given through the newly established Annie Mae Frazier Foundation. Because of this extravagant giving, the congregation was able to bless several families in need in Pine Bluff. The church worked in partnership with House of Levi, a non-profit organization providing social services to families in the Jefferson County area, to share these gifts with the community.
The new foundation was named for the Fraziers’ grandmother, who died in October 2014 at age 89 and was known for her passion for helping others.
—submitted by the Rev. Edna Morgan

Whitney added that a video produced by the CFT will be launched online and shown at events such as Annual Conference.

Connect with 200K Reasons
Some connection points for local churches will include:

  • Resource Room: The task force has acquired space at Faith UMC Little Rock for a resource room. Whitney and Caldwell envision the room as a place for materials and resources to be shared and as an educational center, perhaps for programs on how to start a community garden or Cooking Matters.
  • Website: 200KReasons.arumc.org—a website devoted to sharing activities, toolkits on community gardens, feeding and backpack programs, recommended reading, Bible studies, volunteer and educational opportunities. Caldwell is finalizing a county-by-county resource guide.
  • Facebook: Facebook.com/200KReasons—this page will be where local churches can share stories and images of how they are fighting childhood hunger. Friends of the page will also be able to tap into resources and volunteer opportunities and will hear about the strides the 200K initiative is making.
  • College students pitch in: The University of Arkansas Wesley Foundation United Methodist campus ministry on Feb. 12 worked alongside other Fayetteville campus ministries to pack more than 20,000 meals to stock food pantries in northwest Arkansas. Like Lakewood UMC’s event pictured above, this project relied on resources from The Pack Shack. —submitted by Holly Daste

    College students pitch in: The University of Arkansas Wesley Foundation United Methodist campus ministry on Feb. 12 worked alongside other Fayetteville campus ministries to pack more than 20,000 meals to stock food pantries in northwest Arkansas. Like Lakewood UMC’s event pictured above, this project relied on resources from The Pack Shack.
    —submitted by Holly Daste

    Twitter: #200KReasons—use the hashtag #200KReasons to connect on Twitter for posts about what’s happening live at gleanings, food drives and more.

  • Text Updates: To receive text messages about 200K Reasons volunteer opportunities and updates, text “200KReasons” to 888777.