Spotlighting Our Local, National & International Outreach
Valentine's Day has come and gone but the Missions Committee would like to send out our heartfelt thanks for all of your generous donations to the multiple Christmastime efforts our church supports to bring joy, peace and comfort to those less fortunate or who may be struggling.
Our church was a drop-off location for the "For the Love" campaign to provide clothing and supplies to the homeless community to help them survive this bitterly cold winter. We don't have numbers on the donations but there were several boxes in the foyer filled with clothing, gloves, tarps, etc.
This year's Angel Tree program was again a huge success. Cards quickly disappeared, gifts were returned to the church and our elves delivered them to families a couple Saturdays before Christmas. A total of 60 children received gifts to help make their Christmas bright.
A total of 48 Christmas baskets that included a grocery gift card, treats and a gnome were delivered to those seniors living at Harvest Pointe who requested them. They were very much appreciated. In fact, Pastor Lee received this card of thanks from some of the seniors.
Your donations to the Christmas Offering totaled $8750. This went to three groups, one each at the local, national and global level: Buckhorn Retreat, Church World Services and Tent of Nations.
Again, thank you for your generosity
And by the same token, thank you for supporting our church. A strong, healthy church can do so much more for the congregation and the community.
There is a place just blocks from our church where anyone seeking something to eat is welcome to sit down over a plated hot meal or just grab a to-go bag of food. Community Kitchen has been providing meals seven days a week continuously since December 26th, 2016. They state on their mission page: "We seek to provide food for those who are hungry, conversation for those who are lonely and rest for those who are struggling." FUMC has been a partner in that vision for years.
Community Kitchen was established back in 1996 by a coalition of churches. Their founding tenant was that everyone is welcome -- everyone deserves a meal. Operations began out of the basement of First United Presbyterian Church in downtown Loveland. At that time, lunches were the only meal provided. By 2010, it was decided to move out of the basement. Capital funds were raised to renovate a detached garage on the Meals on Wheels property into the currently existing kitchen and dining area which is conjoined with the Meals on Wheels building. Since then operations have grown to include first breakfast and later dinner. Today, post pandemic, breakfasts are served in the morning during the work week and dinners are served seven days a week in the evening.
Community Kitchen Milestones
• 1996 Established by community of churches
Lunches prepared in First United Presbyterian basement
• 2010 Moved to newly renovated & current location on Garfield
• 2014 Started serving breakfast and handing out to-go bags
Served 22,203 meals
• 2016 Served 50,109 meals
• 2017 In April, started serving dinners on Mondays
• 2018 In May, added Thursdays to the dinner schedule
• 2019 Added Tuesdays to the dinner schedule
Served 57,303 meals
• 2020 Cut back to one meal a day and sustainable food bags
• 2021 Started using food trailer in March
Returned to indoor dining in July
Served 95,000+ meals
In 2020, Community Kitchen hit a speed bump, but despite the pandemic, they continued to provide meals, however, their business model had to change. They could no longer serve meals indoors, so they switched to an outdoor walk-up take-away model and cut their offerings to one hot meal a day. They added sustainable food bags so that clients could shelter in place making fewer visits to their facility. Working with Salvation Army which provides lodging vouchers to low income patients recently released from hospitals or during inclement weather events, they delivered meals. During this period, the number of people they served increased (by 60%) even as the platoon of volunteers was cut back to around fifty.
In March 2021, thanks to the generosity of a donor, Community Kitchen started distributing take-out from their new food trailer. Then in July 2021, as COVID-19 restrictions eased, Community Kitchen returned to indoor dinner service, but that didn't mean the trailer was no longer needed. It is continuing to be used as an option for those who would prefer to get their meals to go. Sustainable food bags are being distributed from the trailer as well.
Community Kitchen is invested in meeting the needs of their clients. Increasing the number of meals served each day gives clients access to food that fits into their schedule. The to-go bags provide flexibility when daily visits to the facility aren't an option. To better serve their clients, Community Kitchen is conducting a survey to find out what is working and what isn't to ensure that those in need have access to a hot meal.
Community Kitchen relies on volunteers, in roughly equal parts, from local churches, community organizations such as Rotary, and neighborhood groups and individuals to run the kitchen. Volunteers from FUMC Loveland have been helping at Community Kitchen for years. Prior to the pandemic, Sunday morning breakfast was included in the monthly rotation but that has since been removed from the schedule so now FUMC volunteers show up on the third Thursday and Friday of the month to serve dinner.
There are an array of activities that take place in order to serve dinners at Community Kitchen. Fortunately, for those that are not Top Chefs, meals are prepared by Meals on Wheels which adjoins Community Kitchen. The precooked food arrives in large stainless steel pans stored in insulated cabinets on wheels. The trays need simply be placed in the warm bath serving station. In the past, Meals on Wheels only provided the hot lunches, while dinners were donated by outside sources such as restaurants in the community, but the pandemic and economies of scale have strengthened this synergistic bond with Meals on Wheels.
Before opening the door to the clients, some volunteers might be buttering bread, plating desserts or starting coffee and drinks. Someone has to open the trailer and supply it with food bags and protein options. Once the door opens, volunteers greet the clients and get their drink orders. In the kitchen, plates are filled with the main course and sides, while yet another volunteer delivers them to the tables. Someone has to run dinners in clam-shell containers and other supplies to the trailer where a couple of people are distributing meals and snack bags. Standing at the sink wearing a water proof apron, a volunteer is rinsing plates and utensils so they can be put through the sanitizer.
Somehow out of all this chaos, people in need of a good, hot meal are being served. If this sounds like fun to you, consider contacting one of the FUMC coordinators listed below to sign up for a shift. If you'd rather stay out of the kitchen, you can always support Community Kitchen by making a donation at their website.
"Over 80% of students at Truscott are on free and reduced lunch programs. Their fund raising capabilities are severely limited for that reason." Former Loveland City Council member and Truscott parent Leah Johnson attended a recent Church Council meeting in February to discuss the needs of Truscott Elementary. FUMC has long supported our neighbor.
Our school supply drive for Truscott is an annual event that takes place in the fall. Teachers in the school send their wish list which is shared with the congregation who go out to purchase supplies to meet the school's needs. Having been informed of the current need for supplies in the classrooms, members of the Missions Committee sprang into action to determine how we could help. Betsy Elliott reached out to Truscott for a list of needs and was able price those items online. Barry Wehrle's research uncovered a Missions account targeted for the Adult Missions group which has since disbanded. With concurrence from the Missions Committee members, $700 dollars from that account was redirected to purchase the supplies which were recently delivered to the school.
Besides this short turnaround effort, the Church Council has charged the Missions Committee to find additional ways in which we can support Truscott Elementary. Some of the ways in which we have provided support were highlighted in the Fall 2021 Issue of the Mission Memo. The Church Council is looking to us to expand our efforts with Truscott to help them be more fully funded for the school’s needs, relieve teachers of their personal spending for school supplies, work in significant ways with the children and, perhaps, be able to provide emotional support to parents through this particularly difficult time. We'll put on our thinking caps and try to come up with some ideas. As always, we are open to suggestions from the congregation, so if you have ideas about how we as a church can help our neighbor, simply respond to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Habitat on the Horizon
Soon it will be time to strap on the tool belt ready to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity to provide shelter for a deserving family in our community. This is not a handout, but a hand up. Their applicants must meet income and need criteria plus provide their own sweat equity to receive a zero percent interest loan covering the market value of the home. Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteers to keep costs down.
Once again, volunteers from FUMC will be joining together at a build site to frame walls, install subfloors, paint, put up drywall, landscape ... or whatever is needed that day. You may not know in advance the type of work, but you can rest assured that there will be someone there to guide and instruct you in your task and you won't be asked to do anything you wouldn't feel comfortable doing. So come join us for the FUMC Habitat Build Day.
There are only 8 slots available so sign up early.
Pura Vida Deja Vu
Once again, FUMC will be sponsoring a virtual build with Pura Vida. Last year, around 30 members of our church joined the construction crew virtually by donating $250 each to help complete a home for Manuela and her grandsons, Martin and Sebastian. With uncertainty surrounding the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, planning a trip for 2022 was out of the question. So stay tuned! Details of this years virtual build are being worked and news will be forthcoming.
First United Methodist Church
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