From painting at local outreach centers, cooking in the Share soup kitchen, or walking children to school on the Walking School Bus, the members of Vancouver First are involved in outreach throughout the community and the regional Washington area. We would love for you to join us in as many of these opportunities as you can. If you are interested or have questions about any of the activities that you see listed please contact Gary in the church office.
- SHARE lunches: Each Thursday for the past 30 years, teams from VanFUMC cooks and serves a lunch at Share House. If you would like to help with this once a month commitment, we can find a team for you to join. No experience necessary!
- Courtyard Village Apartments – VanFUMC was heavily involved with the residents of Courtyard Village Apartments. We cooked and delivered almost 300 meals, collected hundreds of stuffed animals, moving & cleaning supplies, and food items, granted close to $45,000 to residents for new housing, and so much more.
- Our congregation regularly donates hundreds of socks and gloves and coats to the Vancouver School District Back-To-School Readiness event. School supplies were also donated to both this event as well as to our partner schools (Washington Elementary and Discovery Middle School).
- During a Mission Possible event, we made 200 “corner bags” to be handed out to the homeless; our congregation prepared 170 backpacks for the Share backpack program, ensuring that kids in our partner schools would have a weekend’s worth of food to share with their families. We made “thank you” gifts and handmade cards for all of the teachers and staff at Washington Elementary School; we installed shelving storage for Washington School’s Resource Center as well. We also brought months’ worth of hygiene supplies and tied 30 fleece blankets for our friends at the WHO Shelter, as well as 25 gallons of homemade soup for them to warm up with at dinner time.
- WHO Shelter – Volunteering at the St. Paul’s WHO Shelter. Thank you to all of those volunteers that brought food, and served many homeless in our community.
- Trunk or Treat – Hundreds of youngsters come through in costume, playing games and collecting candy from our congregation. Always a great time, regardless of the weather.
- The Mobile Share Pantry, a program through SHARE, partnered with VanFUMC using our large van as a vessel for delivering fresh meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables to families in need in the Vancouver Public Schools system. Every Friday morning, SHARE workers picked up our van, filled it with coolers and ice packs, and headed to local food banks to fill those coolers with chicken, beef, cheese, milk, eggs, veggies and fruit. Once loaded with food, the driver headed to the first stop of the day, one of the area’s many elementary or middle schools with high free and reduced lunch rates. They took the fresh food right to those who need it the most. At those schools, such as Washington Elementary or Discovery Middle School, other SHARE volunteers and members of each school’s Family Resource Center began to set up a makeshift market and prepare the van to be boarded by shoppers. The shoppers are family members of students at the school who cue up in line and go through the Family Resource Center and its staff before grabbing shopping bags. Once on the van, the family members shopped like you would at any grocery store. Some schools set up a fresh pantry in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, or even inside an area of the school. On some days, the schools put out sundries and other food collected from earlier in the week or month. This program allows one-stop shopping for many items that large families in need just aren’t getting. The Mobile Share Pantry was a boon for the local school district, and added another dimension for solving hunger in the community. Our church has been part of the Mobile Share Pantry since its inception. The program grew to an every Friday event, where the church van, full of fresh food, is met by SHARE staff at local schools. A mini market is assembled on the spot. After an hour, it’s all packed up and off to another school. The program continued to grow with more schools and families being added to the list.