Preparing Meals

Church members at Hollis United Methodist Church prepare ‘sack suppers’ for children and families as a community outreach program.

Hollis Memorial United Methodist Church is ‘Calling all Superheroes’ for a fun-filled time on Wednesday nights beginning April 29, 2015.

The program is geared for children ages 3-10 and will feature ‘Superheroes from the Bible.’

Children will be treated to biblical teachings along with crafts, fun learning opportunities and plenty of snacks.

For the past 20 years, Donna King has been the pastor of the Scottsboro Circuit United Methodist Church. It is a group of three churches that includes Hollis Memorial, Aspel and New Hope United Methodist Churches.

She is a small, soft-spoken woman with a heart for God and her flock, as well as her community.

Under King’s leadership, the church is continually reaching out to the community to spread the love of Christ.

About three years ago, in the summer of 2011, King gave a sermon that led to a discussion among church members about ways to reach out to the community around them in a practical way to show them God’s love.

They decided to start providing ‘sack suppers,’ – simple brown paper bags filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit snacks, snack cakes and other small items to people in their surrounding neighborhoods.

“We were just reaching out and making friends with this community,” King said. “We knew that even if people didn’t need the food, they still needed to feel like this church is a place where they can find someone to pray with them or someone to talk with them.”

On that first Monday evening in August 2011, church members went around to neighborhood homes and left a simple note that was typed in both Spanish and English. The note read: “We’ll be coming to your home next Monday and deliver a sack supper, its free.”

King said the church did not care whether the person in the home made $100,000 a year or nothing at all.

“It’s not about rich or poor,” she emphasizes. “This program is simply about showing God’s love in a practical way.”

That first Monday, church members got together and made 30 sack suppers.

“I told them I didn’t know whether anyone would want them or not,” King laughed, “so we all might be sitting around eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that night.”

As it turned out, however, church members ended up having to return to the church and make an additional 30 suppers.

King was thrilled.

“The next week,” she said, “it was 90. Now it is 250 every single week.”

The church has partnered with the food bank in Huntsville and has been given a food grant this year to help with the expense.

“Last school year,” King said, “third graders at Nelson Elementary School wanted a community outreach project, so the kids put all of the fruit snacks into the bags for us and then we brought the bags here and made the sandwiches.”

Before they started the process, King personally went to the school and spoke with the children.

“I wanted the children to know that this program is not about being needy, or hungry or poor,” she said. “What I said to them was,  ‘Do you know sometimes mommy and daddy are tired on Monday night and don’t feel like cooking? We come to your house and bring you a sack supper to give them the night off.”

The kids loved being able to help in a practical way.

Through the sack supper program, King’s churches have found other ways to reach out to their neighbors.

“We’ve been able to minister to people and take them for doctor’s appointments. It is just about reaching out to our community and be a friend to them,” she said. “We’ve been able to help people with real ministry. “We’ve made sure everyone in the community had a bible that wanted one,” she continued, “ and we provide devotional’s called ‘The Upper Room,’ every quarter that we put into the sacks. We’ve had children come to bible school that we’ve met through this program. It’s just been terrific.”

Hollis Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 539 Bob Jones Rd in Scottsboro.

Every child is welcome and encouraged to attend the new Superheroes program and discover the thrill of being ‘Biblically Super.’

For more information, contact the church at: 256-599-1010.

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