LOCAL COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Community Food Ministry
We have partnered with the South Central Michigan Food Bank to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Jackson County. We accomplish this through our Community Food Ministry. Fresh Food give-a-way's, which are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month, at 1:30 pm, at the Cortland Street entrance. The second part of our Community Food Ministry is the FUMC - After School Pack Program. This program provides supplemental food for students at Bennett, East Jackson, and Cascades Elementary Schools, and Sharp Park Academy. The school has identified hunger food insecurity, and the child qualifies for free or reduced meals at schools. The bags of food are packed on Sundays, after worship service, and delivered to the schools by Friday, from October through May each school year.
Back to School Blast - Resource Fair
In 2014, the Wellness Team started the Back to School Blast, as a way to help children and families get ready for the new school year. The event is free. and is held in August, shortly before school is to start. The first year, we had back to school haircuts, vision screenings, food, games, prizes, education on nutrition, good hand washing, dental scrennings, and gave each child a new package of socks. In 2014 we had 88 children plus parents attend. In 2015 we added a gently used school clothing closet, at the request of parents. This was an area they identified that they needed help. In 2018, a new partnership was formed with FUMC, the Center for Family Health and the Jackson Human Relations Commission, for a bigger event. So big, that we moved some activities to the park, with indoor activities in the church. We have grown from our beginning year of 88 children to 826 children in 2019. With that, we have added a backpack and personal hygiene items give-a-way, music, bounce houses, and more games. Vendors were added, as a resource for children, families, and to involve the community. This helped make everyone aware of what's in the community to help them. Save the Date: August 13, 2020, for the Back to School Blast- Resource Fair 2020.
Members of our Wellness Team, wanted to make sure that our church family members and our family and community friends, felt our love when needing comforting. So we started the Prayer Blanket program. Many church members make the blankets that are made with loving hands, and pray-full hearts. Please, give one to someone you know, who, needs to know they are loved and prayed for. You may take a blanket from the glass cabinet in the Welcome Center.
Priceless Gift store
We joined a partnership with Together We Can Make a Difference, and other area Churches, for the community project of the Priceless Gift Store in 2019. The Priceless Gift Store is only open 12 days a year. It opens its doors on Black Friday each year, for the last 14 years. The very special thing about this store is everything is free for families, who otherwise would not be able to provide Christmas gifts for their children. Two months are spent getting the space ready to look like a true shopping Center,but the whole year long, preparation is going on gathering toys, mittens, hats, scarves, books, etc. Then the fun begins, by working at the "sale". Helping people choose treasures for their children. FUMC made and donated 270 hats, 90 pairs of mittens, 65 bath mitts, and collected toys and games. The plan is to start earlier this year for more hats and mittens for 2020.
American Red Cross Blood Drives
FUMC schedules to be a donation site, at least twice a year. Blood donation is very important to our community. Often when near a holiday or the Winter season, Michigan has a desperate need for blood donations. Please consider being a donor or working at a blood drive. You can ave 3 lives with every donation. People who have had surgery, or been in an accident, as well as those receiving treatment for cancer are a few, who we all know and love, who could benefit from your donation of blood.
Jackson Personal Care Ministry
The Jackson Personal Care Ministry is a cooperative of local churches and faith based ministries that represent a community of diverse theologies and ethnic backgrounds. Other community organizations, service clubs, professionals, and individuals support us as well. Jackson has more than its share of poverty. Nearly 30% of city residents live below the poverty level. Food stamps and food pantries help, but they fall short of fully meeting basic needs. There were over 6,000 visits to the pantry in 2015 and over 1,500 households served. More than 50,000 items a year are distributed, with toilet paper the most requested item. The pantry serves low - income residents of Jackson County, with distribution limited to one person per household per week. Clients show proof of residence; proof of financial need is not required. Distribution nights are Thursdays from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at First Baptist Church of Jackson, 201 South Jackson Street.
In September FUMC holds the Jessie Lambdin Memorial Golf Scramble to support our Christmas Project. This event was started by Jessie Lambdin who had a passion for Missions. In her memory we have made this an annual event, It is a great day of fun and fellowship with all proceeds going to help our neighbors in need during the Christmas Season.