Epworth United Methodist Church sponsors outreach to alleviate hunger and build relationships in collaboration with other organizations in their area. Their Bread for Life Ministries receives bread from a local Hy-Vee grocery store, which is picked up by the Knights of Columbus and delivered to their church.
Every Monday and Tuesday volunteers scatter to deliver the bread to people in the surrounding communities. They also have a Food Pantry to provide additional nutrition beyond the bakery items for those in need. Any surplus goes to the local Head Start program. The congregation also hosts a weekly meal every Friday, including deliveries to homebound participants.
Two years ago the community center in town closed, putting in jeopardy the bread distribution. The congregation’s outreach committee prayerfully discussed taking on the project, Pastor Stephanie Schlimm wrote. “We felt a strong calling to continue these ministries and incorporate them into the life of our church.” Since the program has moved to the church they have seen a steady increase in participants coming through the church’s door.
A Matthew 25 grant from the East Central District, supported with apportionment dollars from the local churches of Iowa, has helped Epworth UMC add a paid cook to the team in order to manage the meals and the volunteers as the ministry has grown.