Charlotte Churches Challenged to Feed the Hungry

January 26, 2016

#UnitedMethodistsKeepPounding(3)Not long after the game ended on Sunday night and the Carolina Panthers were booked for Super Bowl L, a pastor from Denver laid down a challenge to Charlotte churches. Rev. Brad Laurvick, senior pastor of Highlands United Methodist Church in Denver, Colorado corresponded on Facebook with James Howell, senior pastor of Myers Park UMC and Brian Mateer, director of missions for Providence UMC in Charlotte. Laurvick wrote, “Denver United Methodists are formally inviting you to a food drive challenge between now and the end of the big game. The city that raises the most items wins (though no one really loses when fighting hunger) Involve as many churches as you like, get the whole community involved, let's make a difference together!” In 2014, Denver churches challenged Seattle churches during Super Bowl XLVIII, and the two cities collected over 150,000 food items for local food pantries. Mateer explains, “I quickly read about the United in Orange and Brad and I began a conversation, including some trash talk.  This is a great display of the connectional system of the UMC. They have a little jump on us since they participated in a similar challenge against Seattle for Super Bowl XLVIII.  Denver collected over 100,000 items in 2014.  I know the city of Charlotte will respond generously and swiftly.  Win or lose, this will be a wonderful outreach for both of our cities. However, we want to win.  This is for bragging rights.” Nathan Arledge, minister of missions for Myers Park UMC has been coordinating with area pastors and staff to get this project up and running in the past 24 hours,  “It may have been short notice, but our food insecure neighbors have been hungry for a long time.  It is our responsibility to see the need and respond. We brag on being connectional, and to actually watch the connection work properly is a beautiful thing.” The contest is to see which city can collect the most non-perishable food items between now and the big game. A web page on the Western North Carolina Conference website has all the details and will keep totals for Charlotte fans: While Charlotte was challenged specifically, they are inviting all churches in the WNCC to participate. (After all, we are the Carolina Panthers). To join in, please email with your church name and the food bank or pantry you will be supporting. Churches have until 11:59 pm on February 7th, Super Bowl Sunday, to collect food for the hungry, and final totals need to be emailed by the morning of February 8th. “I am excited that the United Methodists of Denver have challenged the United Methodists of Charlotte to a canned food drive. We are up to the challenge!” said Rev. Sally Langford, the superintendent of the Metro District. “As we have fun collecting food and cheering on the Panthers, we will make a difference in the lives of people who are hungry in our communities.”