United Methodist Men are once again setting their goals high for the Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry managed by Nancy Faulkner. The UMMEN are holding their annual Canned Food Drive for the month of October through the Memorial United Methodist Church.

This all started in 2003 when member Gary Morris realized the low number of canned goods on the shelves at the pantry, Morris is also a member of the Ministerial Alliance and asked at the UMMEN meeting if the group would be interested in making a project out of stocking the shelves of the food pantry.

In that first year, we raised enough money through our congregation to purchase a little more than 2,000 canned goods. Boy, were we excited. The Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry was really needing that boost. This has been a major project ever since for our congregation and UMMEN .

In 2016, through donations from the congregation, the group was able to purchase 23,197 canned goods and the amazing thing is that number of canned goods helped feed nearly 10,000 needy people. Yes, we have come a long way from picking up and delivering canned goods from pickup trucks and even hay trailers. Nancy Faulkner has a box truck that we load in and unload in one truck operation. Faulkner also tells the group what is most needed at the pantry.

We have been very fortunate to have Gary Morris, who manages this project along with Bob Webb, who is our treasurer. They work directly with Aldi Manager Tawyn Duke to make all of this happen.

A few years ago we had a wonderful blessing happen for the UMMEN. Pat King, a member of the Ministerial Alliance with Morris, came up with the idea of asking the Key Club (a service organization at the high school) to help with loading and unloading. We asked Todd Varhalla, who at that time served as advisor to the Key Club, if he would help us. He said "yes' and what a difference that made for the men.

Varhalla currently teaches at St. Paul Lutheran High School and his students come help with the unloading.

What a wonderful Christian and giving congregation we have at our Methodist Church. No matter what goal we set - knowing what the Food Pantry does for so many people - the congregation helps to not only reach our goal but surpass it each year. Their new challenge is 24,501 cans.

Yes, they can do it.

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