WINAMAC, Ind. – A recent news story stated the number of those living in poverty in our nation has increased to around 14 percent this past month. What can the church do to help those in need?

When one pastor shared that statistic with his congregation and asked them if they could make a difference, the response was an overwhelming, “Yes, we can make a difference!”

First United Methodist Church of Winamac has an opportunity for both the congregation and community to gather once a week on Wednesday nights. They call this program “Family Nights” and they gather for a meal, then programs after dinner. Sometimes the programs include a guest speaker and varying topics, entertainment, fellowship and fun. But this year the church decided to add service to its Family Night agenda.

Pastor Matt Landry told the congregation prior to the service project, “We can come any Wednesday night for a great meal and to hear a good speaker, but this Wednesday night we are coming to change the lives of those who are in need.”

The service project was simple. Those who attended that evening would eat, break into teams then walk around the community and ask for food donations for the local food pantry in Winamac. Congregation members and guests alike went door-to-door asking for food donations for the Pulaski County Human Services food pantry. Whether food was donated or not, they distributed brochures about the church and its ministries.

That evening, First UMC sent more than 70 individuals into the community to gather food donations. Winamac First has an average worship attendance of 140, so to have nearly half involved in mission was a great success. They received more than 450 items for the food bank in one evening.

Those who were unable to walk the community had a mission to accomplish as well. They were invited to participate in a prayer walk throughout the church. They were given a paper with suggestions of what to pray for, both in the church and community. Candles were lit and prayers were said for this congregation and community.

This congregation participated in mission that helped their community and heeded Jesus’ call in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry. Winamac First UMC serves God and serves others.

“… this Wednesday night we are coming to change the lives of those who are in need.”

– Matt Landry