Serve neighbors near and far through Ingathering 2015

Ingathering Banner finalThe Saturday before Thanksgiving has long been known as a day of service for United Methodists of Arkansas. On Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., persons from across the Conference will come together at the Arkansas Rice Depot for the 38th annual Ingathering.

Why Ingathering matters:

Ingathering benefits United Methodist relief ministries that show Christ’s love in Arkansas and worldwide. In addition, this year it will benefit the 200,000 Reasons Initiative to combat childhood hunger right here in our state.

Activities 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 are distributed worldwide, wherever and whenever a need arises because of a flood, earthquake or other disaster.

New this year is a partnership with The Pack Shack, a Northwest Arkansas-based nonprofit dedicated to supplying provisions and opportunities for neighbors in need. See below for additional information.

Before you arrive:

You will need to download, print, complete and return volunteer release forms to the Arkansas Rice Depot. Every person in your group must have his or her own form.

Please note the Rice Depot’s volunteer requirements:

  • Children under age 10 are not allowed to volunteer; and
  • To provide adequate supervision, groups must bring at least one adult for every five persons under age 18.

Schedule for the day:

9 a.m. – Registration and Check-in

9:30 a.m. – Worship with devotional by Bishop Gary Mueller

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Serve:

  • Unload relief supplies from arriving vehicles and sort them for transport to Louisiana
  • Box up sweet potatoes for distribution to area food pantries
  • Help provide 20,000 meals through The Pack Shack meal packaging event—and, if your church has a food pantry, take some meals home with you to stock those shelves! Jobs for all ages, including tasks for those who cannot stand or move for long periods of time, will be available through this option. (Note: To ensure equitable distribution, churches must pre-register a team with at least three adults, and indicate on the form that they wish to take packaged meals home to their food pantries.)

Special notes for this year:

Please do not bring Tornado Tubs this year. They are only distributed within Arkansas, and the Conference Disaster Response Team currently has a stock of hundreds.

Pre-registration includes a free t-shirt, which can be picked up at the check-in table the morning of Ingathering.

Pre-registration also includes the option to take home Pack Shack meals to stock your church’s own food pantry. Advance notice through pre-registration is required.

– For pre-registration, Ingathering Remittance Forms, a soon-to-come list of early drop-off locations and dates, volunteer release forms and instructions for assembling disaster response kits, visit