WALKERTON, Ind. – In the town of Walkerton, the Community Pantry sits on the main street –Jefferson. The fourth Tuesday of each month, area residents needing food supplies line up with their boxes, sacks and laundry baskets. On those Tuesdays across from the Pantry, standing under an open tent, sometimes in weather of 9 to 90 degrees, are the people of Walkerton United Methodist Church.

When the Walkerton UMC Growth and Care committee members were talking with their Pastor Char Harris Allen, they wondered what the church could do while the people waited outside the pantry. The committee suggested giving them water or lemonade since when the outreach started in September 2009. More ideas along with passing out flyers about the church floated around, and then Allen suggested: “let’s just feed them.” So the ministry began. It went so well feeding around 130 people that it became a monthly outreach activity.

“We keep it simple,” says Merry Cooper on the committee and the church’s youth director, “hot dogs and sandwiches, always something to drink, chips and a cookie, soup in the winter and coffee and hot cocoa, but it is feeding the soul that we are really doing.”

Randy Cooper, Merry’s husband adds, “wasn’t it Lao Tzu who said, ‘Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime?’”

On the July pantry day, youth from Walkerton UMC were in line to help those in the pantry line. Andrew Allen commented, “I’ve helped before, and it gives me a better understanding of all that I have.”

Sarah Knowlton thinks it is “important to serve others.”

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew: “I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way” (Matthew 15: 32).

Pictured left to right are Randy Cooper, Merry Cooper, Andrew Allen, Lauryn Wiseman, Sarah Knowlton.