Millian’s Food Pantry for the Community Since the 1960s, Millian Memorial United Methodist Church has followed Jesus example of feeding the hungry (Mathew 14: 13-21; Mathew 25:35) as one of its many ongoing ministries to those in need. In the early years, Millian partnered with other local churches through the Wheaton Woods Ministerial Association and, subsequent to that, operated on its own for several years by offering emergency food supplies as available to walk-ins.
Then in October 2009, Millian reorganized its food ministry under the leadership of Tracey Hayden, Jill Asher, and their daughters. Since that time, Millian has offered free groceries on the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm to people of the Wheaton Woods neighborhood in need of additional food.
This ministry is carried out in collaboration with our community partner Linkages for Learning. Each month Linkages refers families with school-aged children to us as and also affords us one of their (bilingual) school case workers to assist as needed on the Saturday when food is distributed. At the same time, Millian’s food pantry also serves an approximately equal number of families in need from the community other than those referred by Linkages.
Through June 2012, Millian has helped an average of 56 families per month, each family having on the average 4-5 people. The food and financial support is contributed by members of the Millian congregation. Also assisting over the past two years have been various organizations, including other churches, the Girl Scouts, and Manna of Gaithersburg.
Many volunteers from Millian’s congregation also make this ministry possible through assisting with ordering food as needed, stocking the food pantry, packing grocery bags, and distributing the groceries. This ministry likewise had afforded some of our church youth and their friends an opportunity to grow as disciples of Jesus while also earning community service credit for school. One of those youth, Samantha Hayden, organized on her own initiative a plan to provide a small snack pack for each child who came with a parent on food pantry distribution day.
In addition, since the beginning of this ministry, Miss Melissa Fernandez, has served faithfully as Millian’s on-site translator for those of our Hispanic/Latino neighbors whose English is limited. In recent months, Millian also has offered other special services on the day of its food distribution, an example being information on healthy eating and food preparation led by a representative of the Latino Health Ministries.
Following this example, in the year ahead, Millian will be designating the Second Saturday (of each month) for multiple ministries of service to the community, thus meeting a variety of needs that exist.