There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch


Hungry youngsters are thankful for First UMC Rosenberg’s Lunches of Love program spotlighted on the local television news this week for making its millionth sack lunch.

Arriving by car, on foot and by stroller, hungry children and families line up at First UMC Rosenberg on “Lunches of Love” days, to receive a nutritious meal that they would likely not have, otherwise. For the past five years, Lunches of Love, a non-profit based out of the church, has made and delivered free brown bag lunches to children during weekends, school breaks, and summers.  While the concept initially started from a tiny idea, the current statistics speak for themselves. Although there are no paid staff members, Lunches of Love distributed over 186,000 lunches to elementary students and their siblings during 2012 within 14 area schools and the community. Last year the number jumped to 316,000 children  -- and on Tuesday, June 23, volunteers served their one-millionth meal.
“A TV reporter came out from Houston to cover the big event,” says administrative assistant Debra Radowick,  “Kudos to Adriane Gray and her wonderful volunteers on this amazing accomplishment,” she adds. “Lunches of Love is ending childhood hunger in our community one lunch at a time.”
Longtime member Adriane Gray works on church staff as the nursery coordinator but heads up the feeding program as a volunteer. The concept began in her ladies Sunday school class when teachers were sharing that they could tell which of their students had eaten and which were hungry.  Adriane shares, “It blew my mind that there were so many children going to bed and school hungry in Ft. Bend County. I did a little research and proposed a simple solution to the church and leaders were gracious to embrace Lunches of Love and provide space for us to prepare food.” After becoming a 501c3 in 2012, the organization began raising funds through events like the Walk of Love, and getting sustained donations in the years following from the community. Adds Adriane, “I am still moved by the stories the children share about taking their one lunch and saving half of it so they will have something for dinner.”
One of the parents present for this milestone shared her gratefulness saying, “It restores my faith in humanity.” With the help of First UMC Rosenberg and many volunteers, Lunches of Love is working to curb the problem of childhood hunger in the community.   “We are always excited to share good news,” says Southwest District Superintendent Jay Jackson. “This marks a significant milestone for Lunches of Love and the First UMC of Rosenberg in this vital feeding ministry.”