By Meg Hawes
Director of Communications
Kirkwood United Methodist Church
On Saturday, September 12, Kirkwood United Methodist Church hosted its fourth Be Fed to Feed Others drive-through event. These events planned one of the first Saturdays of each month are to distribute blessed communion elements to the congregation to use in online Sunday worship the following day and to allow them to drop off non-perishable food items for the church food pantry. Begun out of the desire to reintroduce communion into the online worship experience at home, a bigger plan ensued to provide the congregation with a monthly call to mission, to “Be Fed, to Feed Others”!
Members of the congregation drive through the church parking lot from 9 a.m. to noon to pick up their elements and more from KUMC staff members in several stations. They can also pick up a hymnal, and a new “Portable Sanctuary” worship kit filled with prayers, links to extra videos and music, and small items to use in activities throughout the current sermon series to enhance their monthly online worship experience. But just as important as what they come to pick up, is the invitation to mission and the opportunity to serve God through loving service to feed others. KUMC members are encouraged to bring donations for the church food pantry in either actual non-perishables or monetary donations when they come. Placed in their trunk or backseat, a staff member can safely take out the donations in the car line. These first of the month collections keep the church’s food pantry full to supply five other local food banks (LifeWise STL, Epworth Children and Family Services, Kirk Care, Bellefontaine UMC, and La Trinidad UMC) during a time of increasing food insecurity for so many.
The drive through pantry donations have broken all previous food collection records at the Kirkwood Methodist. The largest one in July brought in 1584 items on that one Saturday. And it’s not uncommon to see other non-members bring food donations just to help out with the mission to feed others. KUMC food donations increased so much in 2020, that the congregation is now challenged to meet a new goal of 20,000 items by year’s end, a little more than double the items collected in 2019.
And the mutual benefit of Be Fed to Feed Others events is the opportunity for the congregation to see the church staff, and for the staff to see them just that one day a month even if it is behind masks and with a certain amount of separation safely in person.