2017 'Lenten Hunger Offering' raised $39,381


By Lane Gardner Camp, Director of Communications, Memphis Conference

Memphis Conference United Methodist churches gave $39,381 in 2017 to the annual Lenten Hunger Offering (LHO). The money has now been distributed to feeding ministries inside and outside the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The LHO is unique to the Memphis Conference (West Tennessee and Western Kentucky) and has raised more than $2 million for hunger-relief ministries since its establishment in 1983. It is planned and coordinated by the Memphis Conference Connectional Ministries office.

The campaign name was shortened in 2016 from Lenten World Hunger Offering to Lenten Hunger Offering to better communicate local hunger needs alongside world hunger challenges.
The 2017 campaign ran from Ash Wednesday, March 1, to Easter Sunday, March 27, and sought to combat hunger in three ways:

  • Presenting information concerning the extent and causes of hunger—locally and globally.
  • Challenging United Methodist church members to examine and change personal habits of food consumption in light of Christian stewardship.
  • Receiving special offerings for hunger with specific emphasis leading up to and during Lent. 
2017 Recipients
The 2017 campaign was intentionally designed like the 2016 campaign to keep more money inside the Memphis Conference by granting more money to the conference’s four districts (than in the past) for their churches’ food pantries and feeding ministries.
“Hunger continues to plague the human population,” said Dr. Debra S. Selby, M.D., back in January near the beginning of the campaign. “Even though great strides are being made to resolve hunger and hunger-related disease, thousands die each day from problems related to hunger.”
Selby, a pediatrician in Paris, Tennessee, is the Memphis Conference’s world hunger advocate and a member of Paris First United Methodist Church.
This year’s offering, combined with some carryover funds from the 2016 campaign, brought the amount of available funds for distribution to $43,000.

The money has been distributed as follows:
  • Metro District - $6,450
  • Mississippi River District - $6,450
  • Purchase District - $6,450
  • Tennessee River District - $6,450
  • Mexico feeding ministry partners - $2,866.67
  • Reelfoot Rural Ministries - $4,300
  • United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis - $4,300
  • Peanut Butter Project - $2,866.67
  • Our Father's House (Tanzania, Africa) - $2,866.67
Any funds not distributed in one year are held for emergency needs, carried over to the next year for distribution, and used to help pay costs associated with creating and distributing LHO campaign materials, explained Dr. Joe Geary, director of Connectional Ministries for the Memphis Conference.
About that part of the offering that is staying closer to home in the conference’s four districts, Geary said recipients in the districts will be able to execute feeding ministries while also directly building relationships with people in the community that lead to faith in Jesus Christ.

Leaders in Giving
The following Memphis Conference churches (in alphabetical order) each contributed $1,000 or more to the 2017 LHO campaign, according to the Memphis Conference treasurer’s office:
  • Aldersgate UMC, Jackson, Tennessee
  • Dresden First UMC, Dresden, Tennessee
  • Enville UMC, Enville, Tennessee
  • Jackson First UMC, Jackson, Tennessee
  • Lone Oak UMC, Paducah, Kentucky
  • Paris First UMC, Paris, Tennessee
The largest contribution ($6,500) came from Enville United Methodist Church.

District totals were: 
  • Metro District: $7,299.30
  • Mississippi River District: $4,342.61
  • Purchase District: $8,764.68
  • Tennessee River District: $18,745.51
2018 Campaign

Plans are now underway for the 2018 LHO campaign under the leadership of Dr. Selby. 2018 will be the annual offering's 35th anniversary. Lent in 2018 runs Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, through Easter Sunday, April 1.
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