The Canton Missional Network began first as a cooperative ministry initiative of the United Methodist Churches in the Canton, NC area. However, given the unique desire and ability for congregations of all denominations to work for the good of their community together, and a strong relationship among the clergy of area churches, the effort quickly became inter-denominational. A few of our early projects included a coat drive, a community prayer vigil for the victims and violence in Syria, and fundraising to support area ministries. After about 6 months of these short-term or one-time activities, we held a meeting with representatives from each of the participating congregations during which the need of child hunger and homelessness was raised. Very quickly we focused our work on backpacks for Canton Middle School with each congregation regularly contributing food and volunteers to fill the backpacks each week for children identified by the school as in need. After about a year of this work, we expanded our food collection and distribution to include Meadowbrook elementary school. We also began a supplemental lunch assistance program that added money to the accounts of free or reduced price meal students to allow them to purchase an additional lunch or other items to ensure they were well fed not only on the weekends but throughout the week.
As Someone who has worked in healthcare for decades, I am grateful to live in a country where faith communities are interested in partnering with healthcare organizations to improve the health of our community
Chaplain Patrick Davis, Haywood Hospice