Volunteer Ian Hennessey packs up his pick-up with lunches.

“We need your help!” exclaimed Matt Mobley to the camera, but he and others were head-down and focused on their work as they assembled and packed 1,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Thursday.

The plea was to Church Street UMC’s followers on social media for volunteers with vans, trucks, or SUVs to help transport 1,000 bagged lunches on Friday, January 12 for the weekend’s Remote Area Medical (RAM) pop up clinic at the Jacob Building in Knoxville. Seven trucks and vans showed up with less than 24 hours notice to transport the lunches to the RAM clinic site.

The church purchased and volunteers prepared hand-held meals for the anticipated crowd of more than 900 patients RAM expects to see this weekend. RAM reports that many patients will wait in the parking lot overnight to access the free healthcare service. RAM operates the pop-up clinics to deliver free medical, dental, and vision services to the underserved, uninsured and underinsured individuals who cannot afford or access a doctor. No qualifying questions or proof of income or identification are asked of patients who access the clinics. Headquartered in Rockford, TN, RAM’s more than 196,000 volunteers—licensed dental, vision, and medical providers, as well as general support volunteers—have treated more than 910,000 individuals, delivering more than $189.5 million worth of free services since the nonprofit’s founding in 1985.

“Working with RAM gave us the opportunity to live out our calling as Methodists; specifically, that the mission of the church is missions,” shares Matt Mobley. “Whether that means supporting our overseas ministers in their spreading the message of Christ’s love, working in our own local soup kitchen, or something as simple as making and bagging sack lunches for a wonderful program like RAM, no mission is too large or too small to demonstrate the example of Christ’s love to a world desperately in need of care and compassion.”

Volunteers from RAM and Church Street share a moment in the cold after the work is complete!

About 10 volunteers spent Thursday in an assembly line in the church’s Parish Hall organizing the 1000 bags to be delivered to RAM’s patients. Church Street is intentional about being in community with others through long-standing local, national and international mission efforts, and has used the prayer from Psalm 90 as its guide over the last year:

Let your acts be seen by your servants;
let your glory be seen by their children.
Let the kindness of the Lord our God be over us.
Make the work of our hands last. (Psalm 90:16-17)


For more information about Remote Area Medical, visit https://www.ramusa.org. For more information about Church Street’s missions or to learn more about our efforts in the community, please visit https://churchstreetumc.org/resources

This week, we are hosting our annual Thanksgiving Basket project!  We will serve the Knoxville area by providing groceries to those experiencing food insecurity.  We need lots of hands to make this possible!  Please read the opportunities for serving below, and click the link at the bottom of the post to sign-up to serve!
Food Pick-Up — November 17 @ 3:30
Our food will be picked up at the Kroger in Bearden (4918 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919).  We will have the church trailer there to load the majority of the food, but always need extra vehicles to help with what does not fit.
Food Sorting — November 17 @ 4:30
Please meet us in the breezeway to help organize and set up our food items.  We will unload food from the trailer & vehicles, transport to the gym, sort & organize, and count to insure we have all the necessary items for packing boxes.  We anticipate being finished with this project between 5:30-6:00.
Basket Packing — November 21 @ 9:45
We will gather in the gym & CLC Hallway to pack our items for distribution.  All food items will be packed into either a cardboard box or a reusable grocery bag.  This will take place during the Sunday school hour.
Basket Delivery — November 21 @ 11:30-2:30
After our baskets are packed, we ask for members of our congregation to help deliver baskets to our recipients.  They will be taken either to individual residencies or to a local partnership location.  Recipients have been told to expect their food to be delivered between 11:30-2:30 PM.
Thanks again for your willingness to serve our community!  It is a true joy to provide for this need during Thanksgiving week.

Making a Difference (MAD) in the City is Church Street Youth’s annual summer mission project. This project is focused on serving Knoxville and is a longstanding partnership with the Wesley House Community Center. Historically, we have spent time each summer with Wesley House students by providing academic support with one-on-one schoolwork, playing games, going on field trips, and working on building projects.

This year, in order to honor COVID protocols, we are adding other service projects to the week to keep our groups smaller and support our city in even more ways. This summer, our youth will:

  • Continue in our partnership with Wesley House,
  • complete a house-roofing project, and
  • work with Beacon of Hope to help them prepare for a new school year.

Our students will be rotating between the three work sites during the days. In the afternoons & evenings, we will join together back at Church Street for fellowship, dinner, and worship before pick-up.

One new addition to the week is supporting Wesley House’s Walk-a-thon fundraiser to help with their capital campaign! Wesley House is currently working through the rigorous process of becoming licensed with the Department of Human Services. This will allow them to better serve the East Knoxville community in a wide variety of ways. The pandemic has shifted the way Wesley House operates and serves, like becoming a Food Pantry in addition to all of their other work.

Becoming licensed will open so many doors for this incredible group, but getting there requires substantial updates to their building. The Walk-a-thon fundraiser will help with getting their building up to code — a huge priority to help this ministry continue serving the community!

Our youth group will be doing a walk through Downtown Knoxville on Sunday, July 11 as part of our kick-off to MAD in the City.

Our goal in this Walk-a-thon is to raise $2500 for WHCC. Make a gift here.

Our week looks a little different than is has in the past, but it is also SO exciting to think about how much we can accomplish during this time! Our youth are generous with their time and energy each summer so that we can commit to serving the Knoxville community well. One of the verses we return to over and over again is James 1:22, which reminds us to be doers of the word, not just hearers. When our faith changes our hearts, it calls us to action. And this summer, we are answering that call by serving our city with joy!
Contact Jenny Cross at jcross@churchstreetumc.org with any questions.