As a member of Asbury, we have five vision priorities. Two of these are “Risk Taking Mission and Service” and “Extravagant Generosity.”  Several months ago, my good friend and favorite traffic cop, Larry King approached me about a program called Brown Bag. This ministry is designed to provide school children who depend on government funded lunch programs to have a nutritional supply of food over the school breaks. Many of these children go hungry when they are not in school, and no one, especially children, should have to experience hunger. I have been involved with Angel Food for several years, and I have seen what joy and happiness a meal can bring to people.

The Lord has put a passion in my heart.  There are so many hungry people, and in our rich nation, that should never be a problem. The Brown Bag Ministry will do a small part in providing food for local children over the Thanksgiving holiday, and, later, over Spring Break – when access to school meals is unavailable. Over the summer months, we “practiced” by supplying 120 bags over 3 shifts to Urban Ministry.  Now, our goal is 1800 to Center Point Elementary – which has 98% of students on free or reduced-price lunches. Is this “Risky”?  “Extravagant”? Maybe yes, but as a loving and giving church, we can do it. Let’s give back and help out the children in need to stop hunger for some when school is out.

On Sunday, November 24, following the 11 a.m. service, we will be loading the bags (for distribution to the school the next day).  We need volunteers to make this happen.  And we need donations of $7.50 per bag (checks payable to Asbury, marked “for Brown Bag”).  Join  me in this ministry. As we gather with friends and family and give thanks, we will celebrate knowing we have been a part of giving for these children. I am proud and humbled to be part of the Asbury family:  what a tremendous caring and giving church!

Ralph Ritter, member, Asbury UMC

“The brown bags, provided by our friends at Asbury United Methodist Church as part of their Brown Bag Ministry, for our campers in our Urban Kids Summer Learning Program, were such a blessing and so much fun to pass along to the kids.  I wish you could have been here to see and hear their reactions as they received them.The bags were filled to the brim each time with a wide variety of healthy snacks and treats for each kid,and enough to share with their family or friends. One child said,‘I’m giving this to my mom, it’s her favorite snack!  ’They loved it, and it was a blessing to the staff of Urban Kids to send each child home with a bag at the end of the day. And, of course, the parents of our kids were thankful as well.  Here at Urban Kids, it truly does take a village to provide a safe and fun learning environment for these kids of the West End Community.Thank you, Asbury UMC, for your willingness to partner with us as we share life with the children and families of Urban Kids programs.”

Kuryne Lee, Urban Kids Director at Urban Ministry, Summer Learning and After School Programs


“The Brown Bag ministry began in recognition that so many children, when school is out, simply go hungry. There are many school districts within a stone’s throw of our sanctuary where 98% of kids (or even higher) are on free or reduced price lunches. When school is out, they don’t eat — it’s that simple. We are modeling our program on the effort that Canterbury UMC does, tweaked a little and broadened for greater impact. This summer, we ‘warmed up’ by serving Brown Bags to the 40 kids at Urban Ministry 3 times. This fall, because our Brown Bag chairman Ralph Ritter thinks BIG, we are ramping up to 1,800 kids in Center Point, to help them get through the Thanksgiving break! And our entire congregation will share the effort in loading the food — hands-on! Sponsoring a bag costs $7.50, and I know Asbury will help meet the challenge of funding this. My church never ceases making me proud, and its efforts to help out those struggling is what literally keeps me locked in! $7.50 — I can do that. Twice. Or more. Kids’ hunger, right across the street from us, can’t be ignored.”

Lawrence T. King, member Asbury UMC