First Congo increases food ministry with help from neighbors

By Nanette Davis
The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner, and many of us are thinking about food. Not only about what will be on our table but what will be on our neighbor’s table. First Congregational Church’s Food for Families ministry provides food for households in the 38104, 38111, and 38114 zip codes.

They are currently serving 165 households distributing 3 to 4 tons of food each month. First Congo orders this food from the Memphis Food Bank, and it generally cost about $600 a month, or less than 10 cents a pound, including delivery! The congregation pays for this ministry through personal donations and dedications, because it costs more than their operating budget can afford. According to Julia Hicks, Director of Mission at First Congregational, “Because we serve the local zip codes, this really is an example of neighbors helping neighbors. More and more of our neighbors are suffering in this tough economy with high unemployment rates.”

Hicks offers several ways for the community to help and stresses that any assistance is appreciated and goes far. She added, “Canned goods can be donated, but money definitely goes further. If neighbors would like to dedicate a whole month, that’s about $600 these days.” If giving time is how you would like to help Food for Families, you can volunteer to unload the pallets of food that generally are delivered on the Wednesday morning before the 4th Sunday. Help is also needed on 4th Sundays as the food is distributed and rides home are offered to folks without transportation. Hicks shared that, “One neat fact is that many of our volunteers are also recipients of the food. It’s clear that they appreciate the opportunity to work side-by-side on this.”

First Congo also utilizes their purchasing power at the Food Bank each week to pick up food for the Loaves & Fishes ministry. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-3pm, whoever comes to their door is served a snack and has the opportunity to shop for clothes. They serve about 50-75 people per week and generally spend $15-30 per week. According to Hicks, “We also have a church member who cooks individual meal servings to offer on Thursdays; soups, casseroles, and yummy hot, healthy food that they can take away or eat here at the church. The cost of that runs about $40 per week.”

To contribute food, money, or time contact Julia Hicks at (901) 278-6786 ext 3 or send an email to julhicks@hotmail.com. You can also mail donations to First Congregational Church, 1000 S. Cooper, Memphis, TN 38104.

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