Supported by United Way’s Safety Net Council, Brazil United Methodist Church operates Pantry Blessings, a food pantry service, as well as a hot meal service called Something’s Cooking. When COVID first hit, the pantry began seeing an increase in families picking up food. They went from giving groceries twice a month to every week because of increased demand. Something’s Cooking was originally a sit-down hot meal service, but due to COVID they transitioned to drive-thru only. Although the atmosphere is a little different, families are still receiving nutritious meals served with a friendly smile and conversation.
These services are vital to the community and helping families get back on track. Stacie, a mother of three, left her abusive boyfriend after she lost her kids. She was unemployed and having a hard time showing CPS that she could take care of her children. She learned about the Brazil United Methodist Church through Salvation Army, and the aid they provided helped her get back on track. She got a job, moved into an apartment, and currently has visitation with her kids with hopes they will soon be back with her permanently.
Stacie is one of many of the families served who have decided to give back by volunteering. UMC says one of their biggest blessings was meeting Kim. She came through the drive-thru line to receive a hot meal and some groceries. Talking with her, they discovered she had just moved to Brazil, lived close to the church, and had experience running food pantries and soup kitchens in the past. Kim asked if she could come help the next week, and has been with them every week since.
The great partnership between United Way of the Wabash Valley and the Brazil United Methodist Church has allowed for the continuation of these programs, and in turn, the ability to help families in need. The program demonstrates that when you give back, you get back as proven by the recipients who become consistent volunteers.