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Ministry spotlight - kids’ junction

 

Children's ministry directors from First United Methodist Church in Galax, Va., and Kids' Junction volunteers show some of the new and gently used clothes distributed. From left are Sara Gearhart, Jackie Cockerham, Elsie Davis and Linda Murphy.
Children's ministry directors from First United Methodist Church in Galax, Va., and Kids' Junction volunteers show some of the new and gently used clothes distributed. From left are Sara Gearhart, Jackie Cockerham, Elsie Davis and Linda Murphy.
COURTESY SARAH GEARHART

Each Tuesday, First United Methodist Church in Galax, Va., opens its financial office to help families who need assistance with utility bills, food vouchers and more. Children, along with their parents or grandparents, are invited upstairs to Kids' Junction, where infants and children up to size eight get free clothing, shoes, coats, hygiene products, school supplies and backpacks. Families can also get diapers for infants

One July Tuesday, the church served 12 children from six families. "We ask the parents what they need," says the ministry's coordinator Linda Murphy.

All of the hygiene items and school supplies are new, says Sara Gearhart, the former ministry coordinator who helped organize Kids' Junction in 2012. She has "purchased new clothes and shoes, but we take gently used items as well. These kids deserve the best. Why shouldn't they get new clothing items as well?" Gearhart says.

Supply-stuffed backpacks from the Kids' Junction at First United Methodist Church in Galax, Va., virtually fall out of the closet as they await distribution of children in need.
Supply-stuffed backpacks from the Kids' Junction at First United Methodist Church in Galax, Va., virtually fall out of the closet as they await distribution of children in need.
COURTESY SARAH GEARHART

The clothes and supplies are offered to anyone with a Galax address, Murphy says. While the program started with a "Change for Children" grant from the Holston Conference, donations taken during church services, as well as donated goods, keep the ministry going. Families can visit Kids' Junction once every six months. 

During the summer, the ministry collected nearly 20 backpacks filled with school supplies. For families struggling to pay their power bill, school supplies can be out of reach. These supply-filled backpacks run anywhere from $30 to $40, she says, "so it's difficult for people in financial straits."

The families are always appreciative, Murphy says. "The children were very excited about having the backpacks."

Carrie Madren

To learn more about the Kids' Junction, contact First United Methodist Church, Galax, Va., 276-236-9937, fumcgalax@embarqmail.com, www.fumcgalax.com.