Methodists plan Ingathering Nov. 17

The Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church anticipates more than 300 volunteers from churches around the state to serve at the Arkansas Foodbank from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 17, during an event called Ingathering.

Ingathering is the largest volunteer event for area Methodists and the Arkansas Foodbank. Volunteers will sort, package and label produce and donate disaster recovery supplies that are then distributed to those in need. This year, organizers are expecting to bag 37,000 pounds of beans and 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes.

In addition, churches from around the state will bring disaster response supplies such as those for hygiene kits, post-disaster cleaning kits, and school kits. These items will be distributed through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) after natural disasters and in impoverished areas.

Supplies collected this year are expected to fill a box trailer.

The first Ingathering event was held in November 1977 as Methodists gathered at a two-day conference to address issues related to hunger, which culminated with an event at the state fairgrounds. Methodists from across the state brought livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, bees and more as in-kind donations. Though this event has evolved over the years, Arkansas Methodists are still committed to help end hunger.

Through the 200,000 Reasons Initiative to help fight childhood hunger, United Methodist churches seek to alleviate food insecurity around the state through ministries to the hungry. They are also offering education in financial and nutritional skills and advocating for statewide programs that help reduce hunger.