One boy taking lunch home from school inspired the Fort Madison United Methodist Church to establish an emergency fund.
The Inside/Outside Needy program is the congregation’s response to poverty in the community. Fort Madison has one of the highest unemployment rates in Iowa, and many families are struggling financially.
Isla Lachmann, one of the volunteers with the program, wrote about what led them to establish their ministry. A little boy told them when he ate lunch at school and was offered a second helping, “he would put the seconds in his pockets to take home to his family.”
Knowing that others very likely would need help, the congregation began organizing a system for distributing emergency funds for such needs as medicine, food, clothing, rent, utilities, shelter, and transportation. A committee of three works with the church secretary to track and approve funding requests.
Their ministry reaches out to people both within and outside the congregation. “We always invite clients to worship with us if they do not attend another church.” This expression of God’s love, reflected in scripture, is supplemented with a Matthew 25 grant from the Southeast District. The grant money comes from apportionment gifts from local churches throughout the Iowa Conference.