Our small church is making a big difference in its own little corner of Fullerton. This report covers three ministries of Orangethorpe United Methodist Church which put its motto into practice:
Hot Meal Ministry. On Labor Day 2010, five local churches celebrated the 17th anniversary of this ministry which has now served about 140,000 meals on Monday nights at Orangethorpe Christian Church. Our turn to serve falls on the fourth Monday of each month. For many years, one of our most faithful workers was Stan Ault, who could always be seen in the kitchen, putting trays of food in the oven to cook and removing them to pass to the workers on the serving line. During Stan's last evening with Team OUMC, we served 224 meals to our neighbors. Another master chef, Giovanni González, is now carrying on Stan's mission of providing a tasty Methodist meal each month. There is always a big volunteer crew of OUMC members and friends on hand to help prepare, serve, and clean up after the meal.
Food distributions. For nearly ten years, OUMC's Latino Ministry has been responsible for distributing food from the Second Harvest Food Bank's mobile pantry truck to our neighbors in need. This usually occurs on the first and third Saturdays of each month, and the number of families served fluctuates from 100 to 200. We are assisted by volunteers from St. Jude Medical Center, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cal State Fullerton, plus Grace River and our Anglo congregation. Recently, we've received boxes of emergency rations from the Orange County Rescue Mission and Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Service which can either be distributed on Saturday morning or kept in our church office area to give to needy people who come to our door.
Orangethorpe Learning Center. Founded in 1995, OLC is now an independent 501(c)(3) entity, but the majority of its directors and many of its volunteer tutors are OUMC members. Simply put, its purpose is to help children with homework after school. Most of these children live within a half mile of the OUMC campus and attend Orangethorpe and Valencia Park schools. OLC is open Monday through Thursday, 2:45-5:00 p.m., throughout the school year. We just reopened for 2010-2011 and saw our attendance increase from 19 on opening day to 43 a week later. In these difficult times, when public schools' budgets and staffs have been cut drastically, the need for our ministry is greater than ever and we will do whatever it takes to stay open. Our children's parents help out by bringing snacks for us to serve our students when they arrive each day and by working hard in our fundraising events. Some of our earliest students have gone on to be successful university students.
If you haven't already done so, we invite you to consider becoming involved in any or all of the above ministries.