In response to the negativity from the 2016 election season, St. Paul's United Methodist Church decided to do something positive for its community. The result was "Servant Sunday," a day in which a brief worship time was followed with nine hands-on activities to serve others. One highlight was the packing of more than 20,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger, which is attempting to alleviate hunger issues around the world.
Throughout the morning, 336 people of all ages participated in one of the projects hosted in the church building.
The final statitstics from Servant Sunday:
- 20,756 meals for Rise Against Hunger (formerly known as Stop Hunger Now) an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable people.
- 70 health kits were packed for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), the agency of the United Methodist Church that provides relief in disaster areas, such as the communities hit recently by fires and severe storms.
- 27 fleece blankets for pets, 140 toys for cats, 80 pounds of peanut butter dog biscuit treats for Wayside Waifs, a Lenexa-area animal shelter whose purpose is to find forever homes for each of the animals in its care.
- 25 units of blood for the Community Blood Center, providing blood for patients in emergency situations.
- 54 supportive letters and notes to servicemen and women.
- 32 letters to people waiting for sponsorship to enter the United States in Mexico and Central America.
- 48 feet of blackberry, 3 apple trees, and 2 Asian pear trees were pruned. A protective fence was installed for 2 bush cherries, and participants also weeded garden beds and spread straw over many beds for moisture retention for Giving Grove, an organization that helps at-risk communities grow, harvest and share healthy food.
- 28 preemie hats, 3 baby blankets and 1 prayer shawl, for Hands of Love, a knitting and crocheting group providing tangible symbols of love and comfort for those in need.
- 120 bags and cards decorated to encourage and cheer recipients of meals from Meals on Wheels, providing nutritional meals for local seniors
The church's efforts helped it reach 21,504 lives, and all on one Sunday morning.