Spotlight on North Salem UMC Pantry, A Message of Unity, Recent Happenings, Save the Date & More!
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FROM METRO MINISTRIES, INC.
September 22, 2021
Spotlight on: North Salem UMC Pantry
This past Saturday morning, I visited North Salem UMC Food Pantry to check out how this ministry's operation works. The pantry was one of the recipients of funds from the anonymous Family Foundation back in early May. In their Expression of Interest, they described an unusual need their pantry had, they needed to purchase a conveyor belt! Our Grants team couldn’t quite visualize this need but ultimately agreed to award the funds. After visiting the pantry, hearing how this need came about and seeing their operation in action, I have no doubt the right decision was made.
North Salem UMC’s food pantry has been in operation for 15 years, under the unfailing leadership of Rebecca (Becky) Compton, a certified Lay Leader. What began as a response to a handful of congregants in need, initially operating from a small storage area, soon expanded to serving up to 45 households initially once a month , now twice a month. Because of their location, the pantry is visited not only by Hendricks County residents, but by folks from Boone, Montgomery and Putnam counties as well. Rebecca has built partnerships with Gleaners and with the Hendricks County Food Pantry Coalition, which have provided access to items like meat and produce.
The pantry had been a choice pantry prior to the pandemic but had to shift to pre-packed boxes distributed in a drive-thru manner. This past August, the operation just switched back to allowing guests to shop. Each pantry day, 10 -12 volunteers arrive early to help with set up. The volunteers are from throughout the community, not just North Salem congregants, with a few new (masked) faces each week. The basement fellowship hall is transformed to an open shopping space with multiple stations set up for safe physical distancing. Becky assigns each volunteer a task and quickly trains the new folks before gathering volunteers for prayer.
As guests arrive in the parking lot, Mr. Becky (aka Bill Compton) registers each guest by capturing their zip code, number of household members and their ages. The guests are instructed to enter the building and use either the stairs or the church’s lift (similar to an elevator) to access the basement. No more than three shoppers are allowed to enter at one time. Once a guest is in the basement, they are given two clothespins with identical numbers and a rolling cart. One pin stays on the cart, and the other with the guest. The guest then goes from station to station and chooses the items they need. Volunteers at each station greet the guests and help put items on the cart and in bags. Once a guest has been through all of the stations (including one for pet food and another with hygiene items), another volunteer takes their cart, and the guest goes back upstairs. The volunteer then heads to the delivery area for the items to be taken to ground level for pick up by the guest.
Here is where the conveyor belt comes in. Items are loaded on a conveyor belt that is angled to send the boxes and bags up through an open doorway where more volunteers remove the items and place in the guest’s vehicle. Prior to the belt system, items were carried upstairs by volunteers, but with the pandemic switch to pre-packed boxes, one guest’s box could weigh 70 pounds or more. So, then the lift was multi-purposed as a freight elevator, until the lift actually broke. One of the volunteers then devised a manually-operated pulley system until the lift could be fixed, but that required physical strength that many volunteers didn’t have. When the lift was ultimately repaired, Becky was told that it was strictly to be used for people and not as a freight elevator. She knew she needed a long-term solution and began researching the cost of conveyor belts and found an Indianapolis company that would install one going from the basement to ground level. Her next hurdle was finding funding, as the pantry ran on a tight budget from individual and local business donations. It was around this time that Metro announced the anonymous Family Foundation’s intent to distribute funds to churches in response to the pandemic. Becky immediately submitted her Expression of Interest, resulting in the operation they have today.
Metro is pleased to have been able to facilitate this pantry operations upgrade. The community of North Salem and beyond is clearly blessed by the folks who make the food pantry available and accessible twice each month.
A Message of Unity at Bethel UMC
I was invited by Rev. Tiffany Williams-Fashimpaur to attend Bethel UMC’s “Back to Church Sunday Celebration” this past Sunday. The date was chosen to celebrate the coming together of multiple congregations, a celebration that had been delayed for well over a year. This was the day that the congregations of Horizons of Faith UMC, Wesley UMC and the faith community of Engage Church formally gathered together to celebrate one united congregation. In January 2020, Horizons of Faith UMC merged with Bethel UMC; the Engage Church faith community merged with Bethel in February 2020; and Wesley UMC merged in July 2020. But as early as March 2020, the pandemic prevented in-person gatherings and then, with the onset of virus variants this year, the celebration was further postponed.
Rev. Tiffany delivered her message ”One Lord, One Spirit, One Body” with passion and conviction, reminding everyone of the mission of the United Methodist Church and calling on those present and watching the livestream to “live out that mission in unity”. She then asked three members to come forward: one from the original Bethel UMC's membership roll, one from Horizons of Faith's and one from Wesley UMC's. Each person was given a rope, Rev. Tiffany blessed the ropes, then the ropes were extended to form a circle around the sanctuary, everyone was invited to stand and take hold of the rope nearest them, and the three ropes were then knotted together and placed on the floor to be there next Sunday, representing that the unity of the day was not broken.
“Blessed Be the Tie that Binds/Bind Us Together” was sung, and Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright offered a benediction. One of these photos is part of the ropes, but it doesn't really capture the moment. If you’d like to catch this moment and more, you can view the full service.
Other Happenings This Past Week
Barnes UMC and You Feed Them Missional Food Pantry welcomed Jason Fishburn from Christian Family Credit Union
The past two Saturdays Jason Fishburn has shared with children, youth and their families about youth financial literacy. The kids decorated their own “Save, Spend and Share” boxes, and each child was provided a CFCU savings account with an initial deposit of $30. The kids were encouraged to start saving as they can, and the second Wednesday of each month, October through January, they are invited to bring their savings to Barnes for deposit in their savings accounts. What an amazing initiative of education and investment in the youth of the community!
Christ UMC's Annual Fish and Tenderloin Fry
The Tenderloin and Fish Fry returns to the southside of Indy! Between tenderloins and fish tails, 2,526 sandwiches were sold, along with 3,000 sides of baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad and 3,360 cookies! Proceeds raised go toward Christ UMC’s sponsorship of Winchester Village Elementary School, to help with uniforms, school supplies, curriculum, teacher appreciation, Christmas assistance and more. Funds will also go toward outreach opportunities such as youth events. Congratulations and thank you for the ways in which you serve your community!
McCordsville UMC hosted the 69th Lord’s Acre Family Festival
This past Saturday and Sunday, Lord's Acre Family Fesitval was open to the community. This annual event offers free children’s activities and musical entertainment throughout the two days, with more than 15 vendors onsite as well. This community event began back in 1952 as a church fundraiser and continues to be a presence in the McCordsville community. Unable to have the event last year, everyone was excited to see it come together this year. Tons of volunteers worked tirelessly preparing and serving food, staffing the registers, and setting up before and cleaning up afterward. Well done, McCordsville UMC. I can attest that the chicken and noodles were amazing. And I made a new connection with an organization I’d not heard of before, Lambswear Inc. Stay tuned for more on this connection!
Metro Ministries, Inc.'s Annual Celebration 2021 will be a livestream event, streamed from Grace United Methodist Church. Stay tuned for all the details coming soon!
Mondays in October: "What's Justice Got to Do With It?" 4-week Bible study by INUMC Diversity, Mission and Justice Ministries, 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Registration is required.
Oct. 2: St. Luke's UMC's Truck Town, 3 - 5 pm
Oct. 8: Fletcher Place Community Center's Fletcher Fun Friday, 7- 9 pm. Details and registration information are available HERE.
Note: the October 9th Women's Retreat at Grace UMC has been rescheduled to February 12, 2022. More details will be shared when the date is closer.
If you know of other resources we should share, please let us know by emailing Tina McAninch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Compass is a tool created by Indy Hunger Network and has two key ways to connect individuals with food resources near them. The first is an app for smart phones that automatically provides food resources based on where the individual is. The second is the ability to text for food resources if an individual does not have a smart phone. Check out details of Community Compass. This very valuable tool now works in the donut counties as well as Marion County!
Listing of Central Indiana Food Pantries
We have updated the format of the food pantry list, making it easier to view when printed. You can download the updated listingHERE or from Metro's website's Resources Hub. Please let us know if you have food resources to add or update. We will make updates to this list on a quarterly basis.