Belmont UMC Backpack Snack Pack Ministry
By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Senior Communications Specialist
Photo right: Mallory Gordon, a teacher at Belmont Elementary School places a snack pack in a child's backpack.
Photo below right: Volunteers usually gather in the church fellowship hall, after a designated Wednesday night Bible study, to make the snack packs.
A kindergarten teacher in Belmont, Mississippi wrote the following message of appreciation to the congregation at Belmont United Methodist Church:
"I have personally seen children's faces light up when they see the bags of food in their backpacks on Friday...I do not want to imagine what the weekend could hold for some of these children if it was not for the Belmont United Methodist Church's Backpack Ministry."
Belmont UMC included the teacher's letter in a witness report for sharing with the Mississippi Annual Conference, whose generosity provided Belmont with a matching grant of $2,500 towards its Backpack Snack Packs for kids ministry.
Since October 2010, Belmont has been packing meals for children in the community's Head Start program to take home on the weekend. The church recently expanded its ministry to include kindergartners and their siblings at Belmont Elementary School. The children who need nourishing are identified by teachers and members of Belmont UMC. On Friday, when these children are at recess, their teachers put the snack packs in their book bags. Each child receives two breakfasts, two lunches, two juices and three snacks.
"Our mission is to put Christian faith and love into action in our daily lives so that others might come to know Christ through our lives," explained Gayle Griffin, Belmont's mission committee chair.
Through the benevolence of the Mississippi Conference and others partnering with Belmont UMC, the Backpack Snack Pack Ministry for kids serves 123 children as of January 2015.
About Mission Grants
The Mississippi Conference Connectional Ministries Mission Grants are matching grants available to United Methodist churches and United Methodist sponsored or related agencies. Grants range from $500 to $2,500 per project, with one award of up to $10,000. They are awarded to form spiritual leaders, new places for new people, connections through existing congregations and engagement in ministry with the poor; therefore, living out the four Core Values of The POWER of We.
Follow The Circuit Rider for details on how to apply for the annual Mission Grants in the fall.