Tabernacle UMC is another small congregation with a big heart. They partner with Robbins Elementary and connect in relationship with both faculty and students. On opening school day, members of the congregation provided a big surprise “Welcome Back!” for staff on the first teacher work day. Many teachers were actually moved to tears in gratitude. The congregation has also provided students with clothing, snacks, supplies, and other basic needs. Tabernacle has also provided classroom volunteers and actively connected with students and parents. At the end of the school year, as on the first day, they were present, providing snow cones for participants of field day activities. Beginning to end, this is Tabernacle.
The Read and Feed program at Fuquay-Varina UMC is a full-family learning program to help kids develop a love for reading.
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The Sunrise UMC, First UMC and Fuquay-Varina UMC churches in Fairway District are partnered with Lincoln Heights Elementary School around their “Read & Feed” program and other support services. Each week, the “Read & Feed” program reaches 27 children; feeds 80 persons a free meal; provides “parent enrichment” during the “tutoring time” with programming primarily provided by the LHES staff and/or community leaders; and, thus far has involved over 73 adult volunteers this school year. The tutoring program involves 27 volunteer tutors. Leftover supper food is packaged for families, usually providing another meal to enjoy at home. Children receive 3 free books each week to help build home libraries and are EAGER to come early!!! There is an abundance of energy, focus, and JOY in sharing throughout the traditional school year with this incredible church and community partnership!
With a worship attendance of only 20, Cedar Grove UMC demonstrates that small numbers can generate big ministry! This congregation is partnered with Perry H. Harrison Elementary School. Five mornings a week for three weeks each summer, the church family creates a literacy camp. Through their participation, all 24 students who attended showed measured increases in literacy fluency and comprehension. Also, the congregation has provided the students with over 200 books and continues to work to prevent summer reading loss with the children of their community. For a small membership church, Cedar Grove brings big ministry that yields big results in the lives of children, generating big hope for a big future!
In addition to doing a backpack buddies program at nearby Mineral Springs Elementary, Jones Springs United Methodist Church, with fewer than 30 in worship, harvested 48,000 pounds (24 tons) of produce this season through “God’s Garden”. They are still harvesting collards and some other things; but lost most of the sweet potatoes due to Hurricane Matthew rains. Food is distributed free through food pantries in this economically challenged area. The pastor and church members continue to give generously using their talents to provide nutritious food for others.
Lemons Springs United Methodist Church has been partnering with Greenwood Elementary since the late 1800s!! Yes! Many years ago Lemon Springs UMC began as a Sunday School class meeting in the then one-room schoolhouse of Greenwood Elementary. Now, the church has an average worship attendance of 65, and the school has a free and reduced lunch rate of 78%. Through these many years of faithful service, members have provided supplies, volunteered in the classroom, and helped staff annual events such as the School Health Fair and Fall Festival. Even after more than 100 years of connection, the good folks of Lemon Springs continue to know that ministry is always performed NOW, for as Jesus says, “This day is the Acceptable Year of the Lord!”