Hoping to make the Harvest plentiful

Published 10:21 am Friday, October 15, 2010

The First United Methodist Church in Ironton is designating Oct. 24, as “Harvest for the Hungry Sunday” in an effort to fill the shelves of the Downtown Food Pantry.

Pastor Wayne Young said they have sent out about 300 letters to business and

individuals to let people know about this event and hopes everyone will pass the word along that they are seeking donations.

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Young said he was at a district United Methodist meeting when someone shared a story about a fundraiser like this one at a church in Northwest Ohio. The food pantry in that area received ample donations through that fundraiser and was able to expand and reach other counties.

Young said he is hoping to see giving that will enable the pantry to be funded

throughout the next year, which will take a minimum of $40,000.

“That’s probably a conservative estimate,” Young said.

Young hopes that groups will get involved in raising money for this cause, and challenge others to meet or exceed their giving. He said a local physician committed $1,000 and has challenged other physicians to do the same.

Whatever the amount, Young is hopeful that whoever gives will be able to be present at First United Methodist Church for the Oct. 24 morning service to present their gift and to be recognized for their generosity.

The Downtown Food Pantry was founded by St. Paul Lutheran Church, first Presbyterian Church, Coal Grove United Methodist Church, St. Joseph and St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic churches, Quinn chapel A.M.E. Zion, Haverhill United Methodist Church, Christ Episcopal Church, First United Methodist Church and what is now Resurrection Hope United Methodist Church. Young said those churches still support the food pantry, along with other churches that have joined in the cause.

The pantry provides food for those who need it, and are funded strictly by donations from churches, organizations and individuals in the community. It is staffed solely by volunteers.

With many people experiencing hard times, it has affected the giving and the receiving.

“The donations have been somewhat less, but the need has been more,” Young said.

He said for the previous 12 months, there was an anticipated 4,000 people needing help, but just last month, they saw 400 people coming in for food.

“If you do the math and that trend continues, the next 12 months will be in the neighborhood of 5,000 people,” he predicted.

The other difficulty has been that the cost of the food has increased. In 2009, the amount it took to serve one person was just under $7, while in 2010, the cost jumped to just under $8.50 per person.

Young wanted to stress that, while the name of the pantry is the Downtown Food Pantry, it serves Lawrence County.

Young said he hopes three things will come from this effort.

“First, we want to fulfill the teachings of Jesus in feeding the hungry. Secondly, we want to call people’s attention to the need. And thirdly, we want to provide an opportunity for them to respond.”