By Jeremy Crawford, DSC Communications Assistant Editor
Mission Bell United Methodist Church is fighting against hunger by feeding hundreds through their food pantry and kitchen.
As inflation continues to affect our country, the rising numbers of homeless have grown at a staggering rate. According to the 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count Report, over 9000 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County alone this January, with unsheltered homelessness rising by a shocking 34% since 2020. Though these numbers may seem monstrous, they were no match to the inspiring members of Mission Bell United Methodist Church that were determined to spread hope in their community.
Mission Bell UMC member, Delores Walker, has dedicated her spare time over the past few years to spreading hope by feeding those in need. What started as volunteer work would eventually lead to her transporting carloads of donations from the Salvation Army and St. Mary’s to Mission Bell’s food pantry and kitchen. As her loving spirit began to make more connections at Salvation Army, the quantity and quality of food that she was bringing in would increase, leading to a full-scale operation that is currently feeding over 400 members per month. “It all started with dropping things off from Salvation Army at the Mission Bell’s food pantry, and then the food just kept coming! I have yet to put my seats up in my car since I bought it because it stays filled with food that others need,” Delores explained.
In addition, surrounding food pantries were displaying lower supplies than normal, causing an even greater need for their help. As the workload increased, she noticed that there was a great need for assistance and teamed up with Billie Kingsley, another devoted member of Mission Bell UMC.
For the past year, Billie has assisted in running operations alongside Delores, acting as beacons of hope for their community. Teamed with volunteers, the two women have managed to turn their acts of kindness into a fully operating pantry and kitchen that provide a variety of non-perishable items, frozen proteins, sweets, toiletries, and more. As Mission Bell UMC continues to act as a driving force in helping feed its community, Delores and Billie have expressed a dire need for more frozen food storage (i.e., freezers). “In addition to donations, freezers are our primary need right now, and we have the ability to distribute it with the number of people that are coming in on Saturdays,” Billie explained. Both women also expressed the need for a larger vehicle to transport food, as they are currently making multiple trips in their SUVs with the seats down.
Without Delores and Billie, Mission Bell United Methodist Church would not be able to offer the food pantry and kitchen that it has today. The food pantry is open on the first and third Sunday of every month from 8:00 AM to
9:30 AM, providing food bags that contain a variety of non-perishable foods, toiletries and more. The food kitchen is available to the public every Saturday from 8:00 to 10:00 AM, offering food boxes filled with frozen meat and vegetables, sides, sweets and more.
If your church is looking to expand or start a food pantry or kitchen, Delores recommends, “visit your local Salvation Army and see how you can help. You will be surprised by how many people are willing to help others and will collaborate with your efforts.” Willingness to take action is the key factor in making change.
By making the right connections through helping in the field, Delores and Billie have managed to turn a small act of kindness into a legacy of grace and hope at Mission Bell United Methodist Church.
Mission Bell United Methodist Church is in Glendale Arizona, offering services that are open to the public every Sunday at 10:00 AM. Mission Bell is led by Reverend Douglas Reynolds, who was appointed to the church in 2017, dedicating his life to revitalizing ministries since 1995. In addition to the food pantry and kitchen, the church offers its facilities to members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and more.
Online Donations: https://secure.myvanco.com/YJ29/home
Phone Number: (602) 978-2281
Address: 4545 West Bell Road Glendale, AZ 85308