The United Methodist churches of Van Buren County have joined together to feed hungry children. Their “Snacks in a Sack” ministry began last year in an effort to provide shelf-stable, healthy snacks for two weekends each month to fifty elementary school students.
The ministry is in partnership with the Van Buren and Harmony school districts in the county. They receive both cash and food throughout the year to sustain the program. Non-perishable items, such as peanut butter, granola bars, and fruit snacks, are included on their sample list of donations.
Currently, eleven United Methodist congregations dot the landscape of the county. The purpose of the Van Buren County Cooperative Ministry “is to enable our several congregations to do ministry more effectively than each can do alone.” Their organization has been active in the region for decades.
Southeast District Matthew 25 funds, which are made possible through apportionment gifts from local churches throughout the Iowa Conference, provide partial support for this ministry. Through these funds organizations like the Van Buren County Cooperative Ministries serve as living examples of the words of Jesus, “I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat,” from Matthew 25:35 (CEB).