Giving, advocating, receiving at Ingathering

United Methodists hold up lunch sacks they signed during Ingathering as part of the 200,000 Reasons childhood hunger initiative. The lunch sacks include a message asking Arkansas’ elected officials to take action that will help alleviate childhood hunger in the state. AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

United Methodists hold up lunch sacks they signed during Ingathering as part of the 200,000 Reasons childhood hunger initiative. The lunch sacks include a message asking Arkansas’ elected officials to take action that will help alleviate childhood hunger in the state.
AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

By Amy Forbus
Editor

Hundreds of United Methodists from around the state spent the morning of Nov. 21 at the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock for Ingathering, the annual pre-Thanksgiving “gathering in” of relief supplies to send to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for distribution around the world.

In addition to sorting and sending a truckload of relief supplies to UMCOR’s Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana (with such good response that a second truck will make the trip in the weeks to come), this year’s Ingathering brought a special focus on the 200,000 Reasons initiative to fight childhood hunger in Arkansas.

Some participants chose to help box 40,800 pounds of sweet potatoes from the Society of St. Andrew for the Rice Depot to distribute to area food pantries, while others prepared packaging that would allow bulk rice to be distributed among individual households. A third group worked with The Pack Shack to assemble more than 40,000 meals to be distributed to Arkansas food pantries. Church groups with their own local food pantries each received 288 meals to distribute locally from the stock they helped create that day.

Advocacy was another piece of the 200,000 Reasons emphasis. As helpers checked in for the day, they received a paper lunch sack with a note asking elected officials to consider taking the SNAP Challenge (living on $5 of food per day for a week), and to remember hungry Arkansas children as they make decisions that affect funding for feeding programs. Participants signed the sacks with their names and addresses and returned them to be sorted and sent to the appropriate member of the state legislature.

Visit www.arumc.org/ingathering2015 for Ingathering photos, video, and media links.