First United Methodist Church in Shenandoah provides a safe place for children to gather after being dismissed from school two hours early in the middle of the week. Their Early-Out Wednesday After-School Program was designed to respond to the needs of children in their community who previously were going home alone or simply walking the streets.
Matthew 25 funds from the Southwest District helped them purchase games, books, and art supplies as well as care for utilities and staffing needs to assure a welcoming environment. Because of this conference support, they have been able to maintain the ministry with no cost to participants.
The ministry has been recognized as a great blessing for the children and their families. A number of volunteers from the community, ranging from high school students to senior citizens, have come to read to the children or help with crafts.
Cindy Nelson writes, “We have worked with our county extension offices and presented programs to the children (on their level) about the importance of recycling” and other topics as another way of connecting the shared concerns of the church and the community.