One of the 2015 ministry goals for the Clear Lake United Methodist Church was to establish a food pantry. In a community study prompted by their participation in the Healthy Church Initiative, they learned that a food pantry ranked as one of the area’s highest needs.
Although Clear Lake is a resort area, approximately 1,200 people in Clear Lake live at or below the poverty level. The church provided space in their building and covered start-up costs for the food pantry initially. They also held a Lenten food drive to stock the shelves.
The ministry has grown into a community project. Fresh produce from a local community garden supplements other items like peanut butter, cereal, and canned meat. Potential clients previously have had to travel to neighboring towns for similar services. The opening of the pantry was featured in an article in the Mason City Globe Gazette last April.
The congregation’s vision for the future is to be “united in worship, growth, and service.” The Healthy Church Initiative is a ministry of the Iowa Conference that helps local churches, like the United Methodist Church in Clear Lake, develop outwardly focused ministries in their communities. HCI is made possible in part through apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches throughout the state of Iowa.