Despite pandemic, more than $20,000 now being distributed to feeding ministries, thanks to Memphis Conference 2020 'Lenten Hunger Offering'
By Lane Gardner Camp
Director of Communications
Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church
Memphis Conference United Methodist churches gave $20,905.62 in 2020 to the annual Lenten Hunger Offering (LHO), according to an Oct. 13 accounting from the Conference Treasurer's Office.
Donations are now being distributed to feeding ministries inside and outside the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church. The geography of the Memphis Conference includes West Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
Giving decreased in 2020, compared to 2019, which saw $37,000 distributed. Dr. Gary Morse, Lenten Hunger Campaign chair for the Memphis Conference (pastor at Lambuth Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson, Tennessee), attributes much of the decrease to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The 2020 LHO campaign ran from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, to Easter Sunday, April 12.
The LHO has raised nearly $2.5 million for hunger-relief and food insecurity ministries since its establishment in 1983. It is a unique ministry of the Memphis Conference, planned and executed 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.
Because some additional money might be received after the 2020 funds distribution date, that money will be held for the 2021 campaign, reported Morse.
Districts – $12,543.36 (60% of total)
- Metro District - $3,135.84
- Mississippi River District - $3,135.84
- Purchase District - $3,135.84
- Tennessee River District - $3,135.84
- Reelfoot Rural Ministries - $2,090.56
- United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis - $2,090.56
- Project Peanut Butter - $1,393.71
- Our Father's House - $1,393.71
- Mexico feeding ministry partners - $1,393.71
The top-giving church in the 2020 campaign was Paris First United Methodist Church in Paris, Tennessee, according to the Memphis Conference Treasurer’s Office.
Below is a list of Memphis Conference churches (in alphabetical order) that contributed at least $750 to the 2020 campaign.
- Concord United Methodist Church, Paducah, Kentucky
- Dyersburg First United Methodist Church, Dyersburg, Tennessee
- Lone Oak United Methodist Church, Paducah, Kentucky
- Malesus United Methodist Church, Jackson, Tennessee
- Mayfield First United Methodist Church, Mayfield, Kentucky
- Paris First United Methodist Church, Paris, Tennessee
- Reidland United Methodist Church, Paducah, Kentucky
- St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Memphis, Tennessee
- South Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, Hazel, Kentucky
- Union City First United Methodist Church, Union City, Tennessee
- Purchase District: $8,366.98
- Tennessee River District: $6,696.26
- Mississippi River District: $3,105.43
- Metro District: $2,736.95
Plans are now underway for a 2021 LHO campaign under Morse’s leadership. 2021 will be the annual offering's 38th year. Lent in 2021 runs Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, through Easter Sunday, April 4.