Stevensville UMC Partners with Riverside School
by Kellie Meyer
In the fall of 2020, Stevensville United Methodist Church started working on a weekend food program with Riverside Hagar #6 School in Riverside, MI. Riverside is a public school with an enrollment each year of 70-75 students. One teacher works with two grades in one classroom, making Riverside a unique school setting.
The weekend food program provides three meals a day for both Saturday and Sunday. SUMC provides food for lunch and dinner and Riverside School provides food for breakfast. Some food items include, SpaghettiOs, macaroni and cheese, soups, fruit, yogurt, Nutra-grain bars, and fruit snacks. We started the program with 24 students receiving weekend packs and we had about 10 volunteers helping to pack, deliver and purchase food.
When the District announced that 2020 would be a year of jubilee and that money from ministry shares could be used to start a new mission, SUMC Administrative Council thought this weekend food program would be a great way to use the jubilee money.
For the current 22/23 school year (which is our 3rd year with the program), we are packing 36 weekend bags every week. We created 4 teams of packers, a team of delivery drivers, and a team of food purchasers involving around 25 members of our congregation every month. We have been told that the children enjoy receiving the bags and the food they get to eat.
In the last year, Stevensville United Methodist Church has changed its Mission Statement to say: Growing Connections to God, to Each Other and to the Community. We believe our weekend food program is an example of this new vision and we know that 36 children are able to eat comfortably every weekend because of this new ministry.