Hunger Summit to take 200,000 Reasons initiative to next level

By Martha Taylor
Special Contributor

The Rev. J.J. Whitney issued more of a call to action than a report in her June 25 presentation to the Arkansas Annual Conference.

200K Reasons Report from Arkansas Conference of the UMC on Vimeo.

She told Annual Conference attendees about the progress the 200,000 Reasons to Fight Childhood Hunger initiative has made, but made it clear that the initiative would not be considered a success until 100 percent of the United Methodist congregations in Arkansas were engaged in ministries that reduced the number of hungry or food-insecure children in the state.

And then she extended an invitation to the first Paysinger Hunger Summit, set for 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 at Pulaski Heights UMC Little Rock.

The Summit will include training and informational sessions designed to engage clergy and laity in three key areas of the 200,000 Reasons initiative: feeding ministries, public witness, and education for long-term sustainability and relationship-building with the mission field.

In addition to hearing a plenary speaker, attendees can select up to three workshops, co-led by UMC leaders and community experts. Workshop topics include:

  • paysingersummit_bannerCommunity Gardens
  • The Cooking Matters program from No Kid Hungry
  • SNAP: Fallacies, Facts and How Your Church Can Help
  • Food Pantries: Making Them Work in Every Context
  • Public Witness: Voices for Good
  • Come & Get It: Meals Beyond the School Day
  • Friends & Family Networks: Food Cooperatives

“Attendees will receive practical training and information that will enable them to start or enhance ministries around feeding, public witness and education,” said Mary Lewis Dassinger, project coordinator for 200,000 Reasons. “Everyone will be able to go back to their communities prepared to make a difference in the lives of hungry children in their neighborhoods.”

Hunger Logo - FINALThe Paysinger Summit is made possible by the late Rev. Vernon and Eva Lee Paysinger, who were lifelong advocates for programs designed to eradicate hunger in Arkansas. Their legacy of caring helped establish the Vernon and Eva Lee Paysinger Endowment Fund, administered by the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas (UMFA) with the purpose of supporting Arkansas ministries that work to eliminate hunger.

The cost of the Summit is $15 per person and includes lunch and materials. Childcare is also available for an additional $15. Online registration is open; you may also contact Deaconess Colleen Caldwell, 501-529-0604 or, for registration information.