Have you wondered how an elderly person on a small fixed income can pay an electric bill that has increased dramatically? Or how an impoverished family can feed several children breakfasts and lunches on days when there is no school? Or what happens when food stamps are cut, with insufficient food for end-of-the-month meals?
Decades ago, three pastors from the downtown Sylva churches came together to discuss a common issue – how to address feeding hungry people who were coming to the churches. Enlisting all of the Jackson County churches for support, UCM was begun. Originally only a food pantry, with a part-time director, with a small office in a rental house, UCM was created.
Still with a part-time director, the board is now considering an additional part-time assistant to help with the work load. The house on Skyland Drive is mortgage-free, has had a pantry addition built, with storage sheds added to hold donated household goods, but is still bursting at the seams!
In addition to food pantry donations, monetary donations are received for the purpose of covering “other critical needs” in Jackson County families. Unmanageable heating and electric bills, emergency prescriptions, fuel for cars to get them to jobs, unemployed adult children moving back home, house fires, etc. – real crises for which Christians can minister with loving support.
First Baptist Church does have a line item in its budget for a monthly UCM donation, as well as a container in the Loving Kindness room by the elevator for donated food. In addition, UCM needs volunteers, daily or weekly, to work with the director: jobs in the pantry, at the reception desk, client-counseling, computer updating, cleaning, promotion detail, etc. To help with this ministry to our county’s families who are in crisis, talk to the director, Kathy Cross, about where you might serve.
After 29 years, UCM still needs the support of all church-people in Jackson County.