31 Arkansas United Methodist Churches Receive Grants to Aid Feeding, Literacy, and Healthy Family Ministries

October 24, 2023 (Little Rock, AR) — 200,000 More Reasons, an initiative of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, recently announced that 31 local United Methodist churches received grants that will be used to benefit their local communities with feeding and literacy ministries, and building healthy families.

In Ashley County, Hamburg First United Methodist Church received a grant to support their Delta Club that hosts Kindergarten through 5th grade students from Hamburg Elementary for afterschool tutoring, exercise, nutritious foods, and Bible study once a week. The pastor is Rev. Toby Austin.

In Baxter County, Mountain Home First United Methodist Church received a grant to support their Backpack Food 4 Kids ministry that supplies weekend food for more than 300 food-insecure students in the Mountain Home school district. The pastor is Rev. Daniel Thueson.

In Craighead County, First United Methodist Church of Bay received a grant to support their Christmas Food Pantry and Client Banquet, providing grocery items and cooking classes for their food pantry clients who want to cook an entire meal for their families. The pastor is Rev. Pam Lamb-Lee.

In Cross County, First United Methodist Church in Wynne received a grant to support their Bus Stop Snack ministry that provides snacks for students when they get off the bus in three different locations in Wynne. The pastor is Rev. Matt Carter.

In Dallas County, Mt. Olive United Methodist Church in Fordyce received a first-time grant to support their community food pantry and backpack program that supplies weekend food for 29 students from the local school district. Rev. William Galloway is the pastor. 

In Drew County, First United Methodist Church of Monticello received a grant to continue their bi-weekly “Feed Our Neighbors” ministry. The senior pastor is Rev. Bryan Diffee. 

In Franklin County, Charleston First United Methodist Church received a grant to continue its backpack assistance ministry that provides food and supplies for local students during the weekends of the school year.  The pastor is Rev. Claire Thompson.

Izard County, Melbourne United Methodist Church, which has 35 members, received a grant to provide portable weekend meals for 21 food-insecure children in the Melbourne School District. The pastor is Rev. William Grothe.

In Jackson County, Tuckerman United Methodist Church received a grant to provide food for the “Every Child is Ours” ministry that feeds hungry children in Jackson County. The pastor is Rev. Jerrod Bachuss.

In Jefferson County, the following churches received grant funding:

  • St. James United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff is a first-time grant recipient and will receive funds to support a new ministry called “So Full Sunday Snack Pack Ministry,” which will provide snacks for local children after worship services on Sundays. The pastor is Rev. Danita Waller-Paige.
  • St. Luke United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff will use the grant funds to support their Neighborhood Library Box and keep it well stocked with children’s books. The pastor is Rev. Yesenia Zapatta.

In Lonoke County, First United Methodist Church in Lonoke received its first grant that will benefit Family Resource Services in Lonoke, providing food for more than 200 residents weekly. The senior pastor is Rev. Jay Stephen Simpson.

In Nevada County, First United Methodist Church in Prescott will use the grant funds to support its “Suffer Not the Little Children” feeding ministry that will provide food for Prescott area school on the weekends.  The pastor is Rev. John Noggle.

In Prairie County, the following churches received grants:

  • DesArc First United Methodist Church will use grant money to keep its blessing box full of food, hoping to expand to in-person food distribution. The pastor is Rev. Melissa Maskell.
  • Hazen First United Methodist Church will use this grant for additional food purchases to supplement what is lacking in the USDA county distribution of 70 food boxes per month. Many of the clients served are seniors raising their grandchildren. The pastor is Rev. Chris Wright.

In Pulaski County, the following churches have received grants: 

  • Asociacion de Mujeres de Arkansas received a first-time grant to provide food to more than 100 food-insecure families monthly through their food pantry at Pinnacle View United Methodist Church in Little Rock. The senior pastor is Rev. Betsy Singleton-Snyder, and the associate pastor is Rev. Lupita Chavarria.
  • First United Methodist Church of North Little Rock will continue to fund their Backpack ministry that feeds 20+ students in the North Little Rock School District on weekends when food availability is scarce. The senior pastor is Rev. Sara Bayles-Charlton.
  • Hunter United Methodist Church in Little Rock is a first-time grant recipient and will enrich its HOPE Food Pantry and Community Garden with a new freezer, allowing additional monthly food to be shared. The pastor is Rev. Rashim Merriwether, Sr.
  • Maumelle First United Methodist Church will continue its Backpack ministry that feeds students in all the Maumelle area schools. The pastor is Rev. Justin Ledbetter.
  • McCabe Chapel United Methodist Church in North Little Rock received its first grant to support its Feeding People Plus ministry, which will feed food-insecure residents in North Little Rock twice monthly. The pastor is Rev. Johnnie Davis. 
  • St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Little Rock received a first-time grant for their Poetic Extravaganza and Food Pantry. Funds will be used to provide 300 pounds of fresh produce to food-insecure neighbors. The pastor is Rev. Michelle Whitfield

In Randolph County, Pocahontas First United Methodist Church will continue to support “Reading Bites,” which provides healthy snacks during reading assistance at the Pocahontas Junior High School. The pastor is Rev. Pat Bodenhamer.

In Sevier County, the following churches received grants:

  • DeQueen First United Methodist Church will continue to provide food for the weekly distribution to Sevier County residents through its “Chalice Cupboard” ministry. They plan to add children’s books to the food boxes as well. 
  • Gilham United Methodist Church will expand from a blessing box ministry to an in-person monthly food distribution. Rev. Stephen Copley is the pastor for both churches. 

In Union County, First United Methodist Church in El Dorado will use grant funds to purchase books for its “Little Church” ministry. The senior pastor is Rev. Allen Crum.

In Washington County, Prairie Grove United Methodist Church will use grant funds to purchase additional shelving for bulk food purchases to provide more food to “Samaritan’s Cupboard” clients in Prairie Grove. The pastor is Rev. Judy Hall.

In White County, the following churches received grants:

  • Antioch Community Church in Beebe will offer an after-school “Back on Track” ministry where there is tutoring, and new books are given to students for their home libraries twice monthly. The pastor is Rev. James Turner.
  • Harmony United Methodist Church in Searcy will expand its “Brown Bag Breakfast Plus” ministry on weekends to now serve 45 children from the Sunshine School, a school for special needs children and adults. This small church of approximately 20 members feeds more than 45 children and families weekly. 

The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church is grateful for the funds from the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas, which are dispersed twice yearly to local churches for ministry in local communities focusing on childhood hunger, literacy, and family stability support. 

                                                                        ###

The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church is one of the 54 annual conferences that make up the United Methodist Church in the United States. Founded in 2003, the Conference, as part of the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, is responsible for coordinating almost 500 United Methodist churches and over 500 clergy throughout Arkansas. Bishop Laura Merrill is the Episcopal leader for the Arkansas Annual Conference.  https://arumc.org/our-conference/about-us/

Share this:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Print
Email