Hunger Ministry Receives Regional Award
Klamath Falls United Methodist Church Awarded United Way Volunteer of the Year Award – Public Service Division for Provide A Loving Meal PALM Dinners Program
The Provide a Loving Meal (PALM) dinners program has won the Klamath County Volunteer of the Year award in the Public Service Division. The United Methodist Church of Klamath Falls, Oregon received the award and plaque at the 18th Annual Volunteer of the Year Appreciation luncheon on Tuesday, April 12. Program developer and coordinator Vickie Dumbeck accepted the award on behalf of the church.
When Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata issued his Initiative to Eliminate Hunger in 2007 members of our congregation (as with many other congregations) met to seek out ways in which they could take action in this area. Vickie Dumbeck, then Chair of the Outreach Committee, and a few others saw the need to offer regular meals to our community-at-large and stepped forward to meet that need. PALM (Provide A Loving Meal) was started. With a handful of home-made flyers inviting people to dinner on Tuesday night, the group of Klamath Falls First United Methodist Church members served a small number of people – perhaps only 10 or so. Word got out and more people started coming to dinner. Soon that number was up to 35 on the third Tuesday of each month.
Word continued to get out and other churches wanted to join in and help. Now the PALM Dinners are offered on every Tuesday night from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Today there are eight different churches and community groups that help provide the Tuesday night PALM Dinners in the Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church. These churches and community groups include: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Friends Church and a home church, United Evangelical Free Church, Klamath Democrats and the Unitarian Universalist Church and the United Methodist Church.
Impact and Achievement
The number of individuals coming for dinner every Tuesday keeps climbing, usually numbering anywhere between 70 to 140 people enjoying a hot meal with fellowship and community-building. We never know how many to expect; not long ago, 200 meals were served. Recently, a new component was added – fellowship through song. A “Praise Sing” is offered from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. for anyone who is interested. Vickie Dumbeck has been the guiding light and coordinator of our church’s hunger ministry. She saw a need and answered that need. Her example led the way for others to follow. Not only is PALM Dinner meeting the needs of the hungry, but it is developing a sense of community for both those serving the meals and those who are coming for the meals. PALM serves as an enhancement of ways to share needs – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Update Note: Beginning in January, 2012, PALM was expanded to include Sunday evening meals. Wal-Mart and the local Bikers' Sanctuary Church prepare and serve on two of the Sundays and our own Klamath Falls First UMC has taken on the other Sundays. Average meals served now numbers more than 130.