Local churches take strong stand against poverty

Barry Sanborn, Youth Minister, FUMC

Barry Sanborn, Youth Minister, FUMC

Many area churches are taking a stand against poverty. First United Methodist is one of them.

Barry Sanborn, youth minister for FUMC, has helped to create neighborhood outreach programs, one of them a toy drive for unpriveledged area children.

“The program was created by high school youth,” Sanborn said.

Started in 1999, Operation Toy has been successful in giving away thousands of dollars worth of toys each hear. According to Sanborn, Operation Toy gave away over $10,000 worth of toys, all brand new, to 483 children. Funds came from donations and fund-raisers from the chruch’s youth.

All items left over from the rummage sale are donated to area charities, including the Salvation Army, Disabled American Veterans and Crosslines.

Sanborn also leads a team of high school youth on a yearly mission trip. Each year the students vote on a location in which they want to serve, pre-selected by Sanborn. Projects range from Habitat for Humanity to Salvation Army to disaster relief.

Each spring, the youth put on a rummage sale, open for three days to the public, to raise money for their mission trip as well as church outreach programs. Funds are allocated after the conclusion of the rummage sale. The 2004 rummage sale grossed $12,672, the second highest in the rummage sales’ history.

Recently, FUMC youth have rented an apartment across the street from the church. Residents apply to live in the apartment for a short amount of time. The apartment is furnished and maintained between tenants by youth. Tenants must meet certain qualifications, including finding and maintaining a job and staying drug free.

“We just want them to make an effort,” Sanborn said.

Outreach programs for the church are always expanding.

For information or to make donations, contact Sanborn at 623-2796 or e-mail at [email protected].