United Disciples Christian Church in Richardson, Texas is a congregation averaging about 115 in worship each week. Rev. Joseph Harker says, “Our hearts are filled with a hunger for ensuring bellies of those in need aren’t empty.” One Sunday, an outreach project yielded 13,470 meals for those suffering from malnutrition. Partnering with Kids Against Hunger as a source to purchase supplies, over half of the worshipping congregation, 60 volunteers, packed 62 complete cases, plus an additional 13 extra bags of a high nutrition, vitamin fortified rice-soy casserole.
Each case contains 36 bags of this casserole. Each bag contains 6 meals, each case contains 216 meals. So, in 62 boxes, 13,470 meals were provided for those who are starving. While Kids Against Hunger supplies these meals to the malnourished around the world, the organization also allows volunteer groups to direct distribution as well. The 13,470 meals will accompany additional collections of rice and beans to Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries.
The church, along with other churches in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest collects large bags of rice and beans for distribution to refugees under care of the Southwest Good Samaritan Ministry of Los Fresnos, Texas. Upon hearing the word that SGSM was completely out of rice and beans, word was sent out to the people at UDCC and in as little as two days time, church members who responded by bringing 170 pounds of rice and 90 pounds of beans, which will be combined with additional bags of rice and beans brought by members were taken to SGSM for distribution. That filled a need for a brief moment, and now Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries and area Food Banks are in need again, a need United Disciples Christian Church plans to continue to help fill.
Providing food for others is a regular part of the life of this faith community, and all of this giving happens completely off church budget. Every week, for the past two years, the church takes time during the weekly worship service to collect non-perishable food items by way of a “little red wagon.” At the prompting of church member, Don Alley, the children of the church pull a wagon, often weighing more because of the food collected, than the child pulling it. The project began in 2010 and continued in 2011 providing almost 7000 pounds of food during those two years to Good Samaritan of Garland and The Network of Richardson, two area food banks. Thus far, in 2012, the church has collected 3,443 pounds for the same distributing agencies. These statistics represent approximately 246 pounds of food brought to church every week.