Wesley is passionate about combatting food insecurity in our community. No person, especially a child should go hungry. In the past, Wesley has given away Thanksgiving food kits, hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner and in August 2018, we hosted a community event at Parrot Island Water Park where we fed and gave free admission into the park for 900 people in the community. These are just a few of the things Wesley has been proud to organize. Other mission projects Wesley has includes:
In 2016, Wesley installed a Blessing Box in our west parking lot near the fire station. We just say, “Take what you need, leave what you can” in an effort to support the idea of community supporting community.
During the growing season, in partnership with Cavanaugh United Methodist Church, Wesley picks up donated produce from the Saturday Farmers Market to fill approximately 14 Blessing Boxes around Fort Smith.
Our partner school is Carnall Elementary. Over 90% of Carnall’s students receive free or reduced lunches. In an effort to combat childhood hunger, Wesley provides bags of “weekend” food for selected kids at Carnall. We also work in conjunction with Cavanaugh UMC to provide backpack bags to Cavanaugh Elementary and Beard Elementary schools. Our effort helps offset what the Community Services Clearinghouse cannot meet.
In 2018, we became an agency of the River Valley Regional Food Bank. Thanks to that relationship we are able to receive food items to support our Backpack Program and help keep our Blessing Box full with food items.
Wesley partnered with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to place a Community Garden at Carnall Elementary. In the fall of 2019 the Alliance planted the first crop. During our first harvests we harvested approximately 1,000 lbs of turnips, which were given to Carnall students, families, and delivered to Blessing Boxes around Fort Smith. Each season the Hunger Alliance will come and plant a new crop, weather permitting during planting season.