Feed the Need 3!

Mar 16, 2023

Evangel United Methodist Church has announced three performance dates in April, 2023, of “Fully- Fully God He Made Us, Fully Man He Saved Us,” a musical telling of the gospel story to raise funds for even more food donations.

From intimate moments to clapping and stomping, you won't want to miss this production. Live music with a live band including songs with a full choir. The dialogue and narration are entwined with visual elements to enhance the experience, and the very talented Mark Smeby will appear as the show’s featured artist.  

All proceeds from the three performances of “Fully” will be contributed to Feed the Need, Evangel United Methodist Church’s annual food collection event in support of The Salvation Army’s downtown food shelf.

Feed the Need began when Evangel United Methodist Church reached out to The Salvation Army with an idea they described as crazy. “I said, and I really believe this idea came from God, what if we were to collect donated food and turn it into a literal food wall,” said Jim Klepper, Director of Christian Education and Worship at Evangel United Methodist, “I thought, how powerful would that visual be?”

Evangel had initiated a food collection the year before, wherein church members put cans of food on book shelves outside the church sanctuary. Seeing the success and the vast potential of this initiative, Jim and his colleague, Clancy Craven, reached out to the Rochester Salvation Army to ask about the scope of need for food.

They made this phone call in the early months of 2021, when thousands of households across the Rochester community and greater Olmsted County were still struggling as a result of the pandemic. The number of people visiting food shelves had more than doubled, as had the number of times each month households in need were able to visit the food shelf.

“Our food shelf in downtown Rochester used to serve about 30 households every week, and now it’s not uncommon to see 90,” said Major Cornell Voeller, Corps Officer for Business at the Rochester Salvation Army, “and during the pandemic, there was such an intense need for food that we opened the food shelf to households once a week. This helped the people immensely, but it also meant that food flew off the shelves faster than we could restock them.”

Hearing this, Jim and Clancy worked with the team at Evangel to organize a drive through food donation event they called ‘Feed the Need.’ An event like this had never been held in the Rochester community, and the team didn’t know whether community members would respond to the call for food donations. In the end, they needed 200 feet of 6 foot tall scaffolding to showcase all of the donated food from hundreds of people, and the food stocked The Salvation Army’s food shelf for six months.

“Our goal is to get this event to a place where it stocks the food shelf for an entire year,” said Klepper, “Even now that so many people talk about the pandemic as if it’s over, the need for The Salvation Army’s food shelf hasn’t diminished. If anything, people need the help even more.”

“Emergency SNAP benefits have ended, people are no longer receiving stimulus checks, the rent moratorium isn’t in place any longer, and high inflation is really hurting people,” said Major Cornell, “We’re seeing people who have never needed a food shelf before, and people who were already dependent on our food shelf to put food on the table. The need is so broad, and this food collection event has become essential to The Salvation Army’s ability to meet that need.

Tickets to “Fully- Fully God He Made Us, Fully Man He Saved Us” are available now at www.evangelum.org/events/fully. Performances will take place at Evangel United Methodist Church at 2645 North Broadway Avenue NE in Rochester, MN 55906, and will take place on Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m.

Feed the Need will take place at Evangel United Methodist Church from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13. Donations of nonperishable and not expired food will be collected drive through style in the church parking lot.

Families and individuals wishing to stay and enjoy food, music, and activities are welcome to do so.

From the teams at Evangel United Methodist and The Salvation Army, we look forward to seeing you at “Fully,” and we are grateful for your support of the many facing food insecurity in our community. God Bless You.

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