North Raleigh: Community

Faith in Focus: Millbrook United Methodist Church focuses on feeding the hungry

Ed Austin is co-chairman of the missions committee at Millbrook United Methodist Church in Raleigh. The church offers a food pantry to help feed families in need.
Ed Austin is co-chairman of the missions committee at Millbrook United Methodist Church in Raleigh. The church offers a food pantry to help feed families in need. COURTESY OF MILLBROOK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Members of Millbrook United Methodist Church in Raleigh make sure that feeding the hungry is a key component of their outreach work.

“The congregation at Millbrook really focuses on connecting with our community and friends in time of need,” said Dianne Austin, a church member for the past 33 years. “Our church mission is based on what we call practicing our ABCs. We Accept God through Jesus Christ. We Belong to a community of believers and participate in small groups to grow in our faith and encourage and care for one another. And we Connect in missions to the community and the world, putting our faith into action as God calls us to do.”

In the past few years, Millbrook UMC has responded to a growing need to feed hungry families by operating a food pantry.

“Our pantry was opened about five years ago with a few extra cans of food in a closet outside our church offices,” Austin said.

Now a core group of committed volunteers works each week to collect, manage and distribute the inventory.

“Saturdays are our busiest days when we sometimes have as many as 45 to 50 guests in two hours,” Austin said.

Millbrook UMC partners with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina to buy some of what is needed. Church members regularly donate food, and the food pantry ministry partners with community groups that host food drives.

In addition to the pantry, the church opens its doors monthly for a MUM’s Kitchen meal. Volunteers organize and prepare a free meal. They even put white tablecloths on the tables and strive for a restaurant feel.

Each month, an average of 200 people enjoy the meal and the activities that follow.

“It is a lot of fun to attend these events and meet the guests who come to our church,” Austin said. “They come from all walks of life. Many come to get a good, hot meal because they are hungry, but there are others who come for the fellowship and the desire to meet new people.”

The next MUM’s Kitchen event will begin at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 28.

The church’s outreach to feed the hungry fills a need for its neighbors.

“Unfortunately, we have learned that a lot of people in our community, and sometimes in our own church, need food,” Austin said. “At first, my initial response to seeing so many people coming to our pantry was that of sadness. I was sad that they needed food. I was sad to see so many families with little children who needed food. It was heartbreaking to have someone break down in tears of embarrassment and despair when they came into our pantry to sign their name and ask for food. It will always be sad to me to know that many people in our community are hungry.

“But I have now learned to be thankful for how we are able to help. I believe God has shown us a unique way to help people in our community and it has become a joy to serve them.”

Mime teams

The Fountain of Raleigh Worship is looking for mime teams of all ages to take part in a special conference June 26-27. Youth, teens and adults are welcome for the event that blends praise, worship, choreography and mime.

Registration is available on the church’s website at thefountainofraleigh.org. A $15 fee includes lunch on Saturday.

The Fountain of Raleigh is located at 9621 Six Forks Road.

Coffeehouse

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh will present its monthly coffeehouse Friday, June 26. The ministry offers live music, refreshments and fellowship to adults of all abilities.

The church is looking for about 25 adult and youth volunteers to set up and serve approximately 200 guests. Organizers say it is a great volunteer opportunity for families.

Friday’s Veil will perform as the music entertainment this month. The group creates and performs its own original family-friendly, God-honoring music, with classic and southern rock influences as well as contemporary cover songs from today’s popular Christian bands.

For details, email coffeehouse@gslchurch.org.

Good Shepherd Lutheran is located at 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh.

Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at carla.turchetti.writer@gmail.com.

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