The ministry began to meet the most basic needs of many local children.
Members of First United Methodist Church of Starkville – both adults and students – began noticing children in the Starkville School District who were coming to school very hungry on Monday mornings.
“It became obvious that they were not getting enough to eat over the weekend,” said Rev. Giles Lindley, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Starkville. “We heard about the Backpack Buddy concept where packages of easy-to-prepare food items were discretely placed into backpacks on Friday afternoons. The schools help us identify the children and the placement is done very carefully.”
At the recent Leadership Conference for Laity and Clergy of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church, First UMC of Starkville was awarded a $1,500 Hunger and Poverty grant to help them expand the program to more needy children in the school district.
Lindley said the new grant will come in “very handy in providing the food for the packages.”
The Hunger and Poverty Grant from the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network is designed to help organizations working in the Appalachian Region of the United States, to overcome the systematic causes of poverty.
Deaconess Erie Stuckett of the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network was on hand to present the award.
“The Backpack Ministry at First United Methodist Church of Starkville is a wonderful example of the faith community seeing a need and taking action to improve the lives of children,” said Stuckett.
Starkville District Superintendent for the Mississippi Conference of the UMC Dr. Embra Jackson, said this project brings to mind Matthew 25:40 “as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
“At the joint Lay and Clergy Leadership Event held at Christ U. M. Church, this Gospel was acknowledged as Rev. Giles Lindley received a check for $1,500 from the United Methodist Church’s Appalachian Fund,” Jackson said. “The check was received to assist the church for one of their outreach ministries — the Backpack Buddies Ministry. The ministry provides meals to children in the Starkville Public Schools who often do not have adequate food to eat over the weekend. I am so blessed to serve as the superintendent of a district where a church is recognized for helping to fulfill the Good News.”
For more information about the Backpack Buddies Ministry of First Methodist Church of Starkville, contact them at (662) 323-5722. For more information about the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network Hunger and Poverty Advance, go to http://www.umamn.org.
See this story in the Starkville District UMC newsletter at 10-3-14 newsletter.