Opinion & Editorial

LTE: Difficult Decision: Ebbert to end meals ministry for hungry

For over 15 years, the congregation at Springfield’s Ebbert Memorial United Methodist Church has been engaged in a ministry of feeding hungry people. At first we handed out sack lunches at the church or delivered from our cars, when it was legal to do so in Springfield. 

In 2008, we began serving a simple soup and bread meal, placing invitations in the sack lunches. That soon grew into a wholesome meal served every Wednesday evening. 

Next, a hot breakfast was added every Monday, and Hope House, an outside group of volunteers, began serving dinner Saturday evening. 

Over the years, neighbors of the church occasionally shared concerns about disruptive behavior by our meals guests. We would work together to find compromise and solutions. 

Meanwhile, the group that started the ministry has aged and it has become difficult to find enough volunteers. In addition, over the past several months, it has become more difficult to maintain order and prevent illegal activities around and on church property. 

This could be a result of the church becoming more of a “hang-out” during and after the COVID pandemic. Whatever the cause, the result is the church leadership has made the hard decision to cancel our meals ministry at the end of August. 

We would like to thank the local businesses and organizations that have contributed to our meals over the years. 

At the risk of leaving some out, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Bright Oaks Meats for donating delicious meats, Roaring Rapids Pizza for providing a free pizza party for our volunteers once a year for many years, Food For Lane County, Burrito Brigade for delivering donated Little Caesars Pizza, Springfield Lions Club, Springfield Kiwanis Club, and for Hope House Gleaners who shared food they gleaned from area grocery stores.

Speaking for those who have dedicated many years to serving our unhoused and low income neighbors, it has been a blessing to be a blessing.

Alma Beck

Wednesday meal coordinator at Ebbert Memorial UMC

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