The Johnson County Cluster of Churches raised more than 5,000 cans and boxes of food items to make a dent in the needs of needy people in Johnson County through the Interchurch Food Pantry in Franklin.

With John Wesley’s credo in mind to “do all the good you can,” the six congregations of the JO CO Cluster (Greenwood-Honey Creek UMC, Greenwood UMC, Greenwood-Mt Auburn UMC, Greenwood-Smith Valley UMC, Whiteland UMC and Franklin-Grace UMC) committed itself to raising as much food as possible for the Interchurch Food Pantry. The drive began on Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday, Jan. 17 and culminated on the first Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21.

Each church was asked to focus its food collection efforts on one particular food item: Honey Creek, tuna; Grace, jelly; Mt. Auburn, beef stew; Smith Valley, mashed potatoes; Greenwood, pork and beans; Whiteland, Spaghetti O’s.

The efforts of all the churches came to fruition when more than 250 people gathered at Mt. Auburn for a Concert of Prayer and celebration of giving more than 5,000 cans and boxes of food. At the concert, each church presented its food gifts, offered prayers for the community and shared praise music, that ranged from folk to classical to contemporary, all celebrating the goodness of God’s presence in the community.

The director of the Interchurch food pantry, LaTheda Noonan, a Whiteland UMC member, presented the profound need for food assistance in the community and shared stories of individuals served by the pantry ministry.

Organizers announced at the concert that the JO CO Cluster will hold a community evangelistic effort with a tent at the Johnson County Fair in July. They also announced the JO CO Cluster has committed itself to build a Habitat for Humanity home in Greenwood in 2011. In support of this effort the JO CO Cluster will hold a fall festival Sept. 28 so that each congregation will have the opportunity to raise money for the Habitat for Humanity project and celebrate with music, food and another “concert of prayer.’

For more information about the efforts of the JO CO Cluster, contact the Rev. Brad Miller at, call 317-445-8211 or 317-535-4720.

Each church was asked to focus its food collection efforts on one particular food item.