United Methodist Churches are feeding the hungry

January 26, 2007

Last year 23 congregations in the the North Alabama Conference were among 386 United Methodist churches across the connection that provided nearly 21 million servings of fresh, nourishing food to hungry Americans.  They did it with their donations totaling $414,615 to the Society of St. Andrew, a national nonprofit hunger relief ministry and an Advance Special.


Hunger, in this the richest nation in the world, continues to be a serious problem. Considering the difficulties faced in trying to fix the problem one might think there is no solution. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is enough food wasted in the United States – before it ever gets to market – to provide at least seven pounds of nutritious food every day to every one of the more than  36 million Americans who live at risk of hunger.


The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) uses a simple, common-sense approach to the problem. They network with growers and volunteers to save fresh fruits and vegetables that will go to waste because they don’t meet market standards. Then they get that food distributed to those who need it most.


Each year, with the help of more than 30,000 volunteers, SoSA saves 25-40 million pounds of perfectly good produce that would otherwise rot in fields and landfills because it is not commercially marketable. All the food is donated but SoSA must pay for bagging and transportation to get it to agencies nationwide that feed the hungry. Because SoSA maintains an extremely low overhead, they can feed the hungry at a cost of just 2 cents per servings. The Society of St. Andrew’s major programs for gleaning America’s fields and feeding America’s hungry are the Gleaning Network and the Potato Project.


Each of the United Methodist churches that last year partnered with the Society of St. Andrew were, on average, responsible for saving nearly 18,000 pounds of food that provided 53,500 servings to the hungry. Totally, partner churches were responsible for 27% of the 25.5 million pounds of produce that SoSA saved and distributed across the nation in 2006.


Last year’s Partner Church program grew by more than one third over the previous year. 422 large and small membership churches of all denominations participated with donations totaling nearly $460,000. There are four “partner church” levels recognized with certificates of thanks from the Society of St. Andrew: St. Andrew Partner, $500; One Mile Partner, $850; Change the World Partner, $1000; and Extra Mile Partner, $1700.

Here is the list of North Alabama Conference partner churches that together contgribnuted $24, 642. 

Acmar UMC, Moody

Alexandria UMC, Alexandria

Arley UMC, Arley

Crumly Chapel UMC, Birmingham

Daybreak UMC, Leeds

First UMC, Leeds

First UMC, Jacksonville

First UMC, Hueytown

First UMC, Pell City

First UMC, Alexander City

Huffman UMC, Birmingham

Lacey's Spring UMC, Lacey's Spring

Latham UMC, Huntsville

Littleville UMC, Haleyville

Morningstar UMC, Chelsea

Ninth Street UMC, Decatur

Pleasant Grove UMC, Pleasant Grove

Red Level UMC, Opp

Shiloh UMC, Talladega

Snead First UMC, Albertville

St. Paul UMC, Boaz

St. Pauls UMC, Birmingham

Wesley Chapel UMC, Sylacauga


For more information about the Society of St. Andrew’s hunger relief ministry and becoming a “Partner Church” call 800-333-4597, email church@endhunger.org, or go to www.endhunger.org.

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