Eastwood Memorial UMC in Caruthersville was a flurry of activity on June 26 when members of the church along with volunteers from other churches and the community came together to help alleviate hunger insecurity in Pemiscot County and the Missouri Bootheel. Approximately 40 volunteers helped with the project. Eastwood Memorial partnered with Outreach International Ministries out of Memphis to package over 6,000 nutritious mac & cheese meals for distribution in Southeast Missouri. The food will be shared through the Day of Hope in Caruthersville, a community service ministry which serves 350-400 people each month with their food distribution program. Eastwood Memorial has a close partnership with Day of Hope which serves the entire Bootheel area.
Mr. Mike Bernard, a member of Eastwood Memorial and a local agribusinessman, developed a passion for this ministry through his friendship with Ted Medlin, a volunteer with Outreach International. Mr. Bernard underwrote the cost of the food and the transportation of the food to Caruthersville. As a rice farmer, Mike has been very supportive of the Festival of Sharing in Missouri and Second Harvest in Tennessee. According to Mr. Bernard, “I am very pleased with the great job our volunteers have done and the fact that we were able to package over 6,000 meals in about two hours. I look forward to doing this again with a goal of 10,000 meals.”
Pastor Jim Coffer added that this food will go a long way toward alleviating food insecurity in the Bootheel. Pemiscot County is one of the poorest counties in Missouri with 31% of the population at or below the federal poverty level. According to Pastor Coffer, “This was an excellent way to bring Christians together from various backgrounds to share the love of Jesus in a very concrete and practical way. I look forward to expanding this effort in the future.”