Methodists United, the Shamokin Area Mission Connection collected and donated much-needed school uniforms in January to the Clothing Closet at Shamokin Area Jr./Sr. High School. The Rev. Zachary Hopple, pastor of First UMC Shamokin, and Karyn Fisher, pastor of St. John’s UMC Coal Township, led the effort, which is an ongoing ministry of First UMC.
“Most of the donations came from the 11 churches of Methodists United,” said Fisher, who is president of the coal country mission connection.
The News-Item local newspaper and WNEP-TV both reported on the donation delivery to the school’s students and teachers. Students from low-income families often cannot afford to purchase the required school uniforms.
“This is a great story about how our Methodist connection can work” said Fisher. “The whole project was motivated by a project that originally came out of First UMC.”
First UMC Shamokin initially collected about 80 garments, and the money that Methodists United received from Hopewell UMC in Downingtown ($1500) purchased 185 new garments from Old Navy, (resulting in) a total of 265 new garments for students from age 5-18.
Rev. Steve Morton, pastor of Hopewell UMC, was the one who initiated contact with me (as president of Methodists United) and offered to donate money to fund children’s ministry. We felt that what 1st UMC was already doing was a vital way to help the children of our coal region community, where so many families are struggling and living below the poverty line.
Thanks in part to Hopewell’s generous contribution, almost 300 items were donated, with sizes ranging from 1st thru 12th grade students.
To learn more, read and watch both news stories about this remarkable, collaborative effort that involved not only a responsive, mission-minded mission connection, but also a helping church beyond their region. Hopewell’s lead pastor, the Rev. Steve Morton, will become superintendent of the North District July 1, which includes churches in the Shamokin area.