This was the first year for the Great Food Race Challenge in the Bowling Green District. The idea behind this came from a story in the Interpreter magazine a few months back where some United Methodist churches in Colorado did this.
One of my goals for the Challenge, in addition to the desire to help our area food pantries, was to have something where our UM churches would work together. I think that we represent God's Kingdom much better and more powerfully when we work together.
The rules are quite simple. For the entire month of October, congregations were to collect non-perishable food (canned goods, rice, cereal, etc.). At the end of the month, the food would be weighed (using any standard household weight scale). The total weight would then be divided by the number of members of the church, and the church that collected the most pounds per member wins. The winning church receives a very nice wooden plaque that will "travel" every year to the next winning church. Each year's winning church name will be added to the plaque.
The ultimate winners, of course, are the people who benefit from the food donated to the food pantries. The hunger and food shortage crisis is escalating, and right here in America millions of our children go hungry every day. A little friendly competition among churches serves to bring back the "United" in United Methodist, and helps grow the Kingdom.
Of the 73 churches in the Bowling Green District, the following churches "competed" in the Food Race Challenge:
• Winner - Stevenson UMC (Franklin) 300 pounds of food collected/89 members = 3.37 pounds of food per member!
• 2nd Place - Cave City UMC (Cave City) 99 pounds of food/74 members = 1.34 pounds of food per member
• 3rd Place - Highland UMC (Cave City) 85 pounds of food/72 members = 1.18 pounds of food per member
Sugar Grove UMC (Morgantown) collected 148 pounds/85 members, or 1.74 pounds per member, but as this year's initial sponsor of this annual event, we did not include ourselves in the totals (but watch out next year, Stevenson—we want that plaque back).
Together, these churches helped bring an additional 632 pounds of food into local food pantries. If you monitor the news at all, you know that supplies are running out and our food pantries need our assistance now more than ever. I know that many of our churches collect food on and off during the year, but by working together, our efforts multiply and we accomplish so much more. At the rate above, our 73 churches have the ability to donate over 10,000 pounds of food at one time.
Pastor, Sugar Grove UMC
Some of the 600-plus pounds of food collected