Northwest Arkansas students support food pantry beyond Spring Break trip

Students from First UMC Rogers working in the Marianna Larger Parish Delta Dream food pantry. COURTESY PHOTO

Students from First UMC Rogers working in the Marianna Larger Parish Delta Dream food pantry.

In the spring of 2015, youth from First United Methodist Church Rogers undertook a traveling mission, helping several food pantries in the rural east Arkansas Delta. The experience that stood out was their time at the Delta Dream pantry in Marianna, part of a United Methodist ministry run by Evelyn Banks-Shackelford, a Church and Community Worker (CCW) missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

At Delta Dream, the team did more than assemble boxes of food and snack packs. They helped with some repairs to the old train station that houses the ministry, and saw the need for even more work.

“Before the mission, our youth parents started a church-wide collection so we could leave each food pantry with a gift,” said B. Edwards, director of student ministries for First UMC Rogers. “So we left Delta Dream with a check for over $830 and let them know we wanted to continue to find ways to help their cause. Our students left Marianna, but continued to dream and pray for what more we could do not just for them, but with them.”

By summer, the youth had put together “Be the Dream Night”: a dinner and silent auction to benefit Delta Dream. An envelope lay on each table; inside were various hopes for Delta Dream. That night, each and every hope for the ministry was specifically prayed over. They raised almost $3,500 for facilities improvements.

200k ReasonsFor their annual fall retreat, the students invited youth Central UMC Fayetteville and Central UMC Rogers, and asked that each person bring a canned good. The three student ministries together collected 120 cans for Delta Dream.

Edwards delivered the food and the check to Marianna, along with the message of the students’ commitment to providing more help to Delta Dream in the future.

For information on how you can help the Delta Dream food pantry of Marianna, contact First UMC Rogers or the Southeast District office and ask to join “the Dream Team.”