FUMC Hickory Featured in SEJ Newsletter

August 3, 2015

In January 2015 the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops and Annual Conference Lay Leaders committed to make children in poverty a common ministry focus across the Southeast. This article was featured in the July 2015 of the SEJ Newsletter featuring stories of churches working with children in poverty.

Last year First United Methodist Church in Hickory, North Carolina, contacted the local school district social workers and asked what particular need was not being met.  The response was “beds so that children can get a good night’s sleep.”  First Church responded and then shared the vision with its missional network. The “difficult situation” is there are hundreds of children throughout the area that either live in substandard housing (sleeping on the floor or in one bed with multiple children), or are functionally homeless moving from house to house — sleeping on the couch of an aunt this week, the floor of a cousin next week. The children cannot get a good night’s sleep and are coming to school tired, sick, etc. [caption id="attachment_3374" align="alignright" width="300"]The bedding kit is both is sturdy and portable.The price tag for each kit is under $100. The bedding kit is both is sturdy and portable.The
price tag for each kit is under $100.[/caption] During Advent, the missional network churches raised enough funds for more than 225 bedding kits and have committed to making this an annual event.  The bedding kit consists of a backpacking cot (can support 200 lbs), a fleece blanket, a mattress/cover, a pillow, and tote bag. The price tag for each kit is under $100. The bedding system is sturdy, but lightweight. It can be easily and quickly folded up for immediate mobility. This spring, the churches came together at Highland UMC in Hickory and celebrated with a “Build-a-Bed” workshop rally during which the network churches compiled all the components of the bedding kits to be delivered to the area school districts (Hickory City Schools, Catawba County Schools, and Conover Schools).