WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
OVER THE YEARS
Over the years, Asbury United Methodist Church watched its neighborhood change from middle income families to very low income families. Currently, our children live in the area of Springfield that suffers from the highest percent of child poverty. The Children's Supper hour began in 1983 as a way to meet the need for an after school/summer nutritional meal program for the neighborhood children. Our mission is to provide meals and activities in a safe, nurturing Christian environment while responding to the spiritual and social needs of the children. All children are made to feel welcome and special.
The children come from the two lowest income tracts in Springfield. For children not in school and during the summer, when the school lunch programs are not available, this meal may represent the only meal they get during the day. In addition, there are few activities in the neighborhood for the children. Gangs, violence and drug dealers are more prevalent than positive role models.
Many of our children are from broken homes with parents who have serious addictions. Many of the children suffer from neglect as well as from hunger. Hugs and attention are just as important to these children as the meal. The positive attention the children receive at our site helps enhance their self-esteem. Children with a healthy self-image are less likely to fall into the trap of drug use and crime.
OUR MAIN GOAL
Our main goal is to feed the children a nutritious meal four days a week while proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ. Before every meal, the children join hands in a circle and pray. They often request prayers for their family members.
The children are taught age appropriate Bible lessons similar to those taught in Sunday School or Bible School. Our volunteers read bible stories to the younger children. The children are rewarded for memorizing Bible verses. We also distribute Bibles to the children. At our annual Christmas Party, the children celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Please help us to be disciples to these children who may never know Jesus otherwise.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED !
We need you !!
A program like ours has special needs. We depend on volunteers and the children depend on us. What better way to show children they are loved and cherished than to serve them a nourishing meal in a safe, love filled Christian place?
If you possess our belief in God's love for children and are capable of transferring this belief to them, we would love to have you as a volunteer.
The following volunteer positions are available:
Craft Monitor – Must enjoy working with construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors, old magazines, glue, glitter and popsicle sticks. Duties may also include repeating that age old phrase, “Don't run with scissors!”
Game Player – Must enjoy playing a variety of board games, such as, Candy Land, Tic Tac Toe, Chess, Checkers, Monopoly, Battleship, Aggravation, Operation, etc. Duties also include playing card games such as Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, etc.
Greeter – Duties include greeting children as they arrive and asking the following questions: “How are you today?” “What did you learn at school today?” “Are you hungry?” etc.
Homework Assistant – Must have basic skills in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and enjoy helping children become successful students.
Play Dough Monitor – Must enjoy working with play dough, cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc.
Kitchen Assistant – Duties include helping the cook prepare and serve meals.
Pantry Assistant – Duties include shopping for food, picking up food from the Central Illinois Food Bank and stocking/organizing our shelves.
Storyteller – Must enjoy reading a variety of storybooks to children. Duties may include holding small children in your lap while reading to them.
Teacher – Duties similar to those of a Sunday School or Bible School teacher. Must be able to teach the children of God's love through songs, games, crafts, etc.
MEASURING OUR SUCCESS
The most rewarding measure of our success is the smiles on the children's faces and the hugs we receive from them. In addition, the children sign in at each meal, which provides us with a daily record of the number of children who attend. The sign-in sheet requires their name, address and age.w you can lend a helping hand with this program.
FINANCING OUR MINISTRY
Currently, we are funded by grants and donations from churches, individuals and businesses.
In the past, we received city-supported grants that prohibited us from presenting a Christian message to the children. Consequently, we have made a conscious decision not to accept funding that would limit our ability to present a Christian message.
Financial assistance is needed for us to continue meeting the spiritual and social needs of our neighborhood children.
PRAY FOR US
As we stated previously, our children live in the midst of crime and violence. Many of the children's prayer requests were to stop the violence. These requests are from an 11 year-old boy who wants your prayers for the following:
Stop the shooting in schools.
Stop children from fighting.
Make children become better in school.
Make gangs more mature toward each other.
Pray for my whole family and make sure they become better and better.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROUPS
In addition to providing warm meals, love and safety to our neighborhood children, we are developing spiritual leaders in our volunteers. Several youth groups have participated in our program. This provides them with hands on training for the mission fields. These young people are learning, from our example, ways to dedicate their lives in service to others.
The feedback from these groups is very positive. As you can see from the smiles of this youth group, they really enjoyed preparing and serving the meal. If your group or organization would like to participate in our mission, we would love to have you.
HOW CAN YOU HELP ?
We of course realize that your own busy schedule and the times we operate may conflict. However, you can still provide support to our ministry by joining our prayer program, hosting food drives, collecting various supplies and fundraising.
Your financial support means so very much to these children. Please help us to make a difference in their lives.
In-kind donations of school supplies, personal care products, cleaning products, gloves, mittens, socks, food items, kitchen supplies, board games, etc. are needed. Please contact us for a current list of items needed.
If God leads you to give to our ministry, we accept your gift with deep thanks and look forward to serving with you.
If you would like to be a part of our ministry team, please contact:
Connie Doolin at (217) 522-8147
Join us in making a real difference.