Social Ministry Task Force
The Cole Camp Food Pantry
The Cole Camp Food Pantry was founded in 2008 with the help of St. Paul’s members and serves those residing in the Benton County R-I School District. The pantry is operated largely by volunteers in the Cole Camp area, with an individual hired to oversee the workings of the pantry. Members may donate food items to the pantry at any time in the drop-off boxes at the rear of the sanctuary. Each year at the Thanksgiving worship service the offering includes a food ingathering.
In January each year area churches compete in a “Souper Bowl” with the goal of being the church who can donate the most items (canned soup and/or crackers) to be given to the Food Pantry. The winning church receives the traveling trophy until the next year’s event.
Cole Camp Area Church Alliance & Back to School Clothing Sale
The Cole Camp Area Church Alliance (CCACA) is an organization of the churches within the Cole Camp area. The Alliance meets monthly to discuss the needs of the community and to determine the means by which the area churches can address those needs. Each church appoints a representative to serve on the Alliance along with their pastor.
In addition, to some monetary assistance to those needing assistance within the community, the Alliance holds various projects. In particular, the very successful annual Back to School Clothing Sale.
Each August, the Cole Camp Area Church Alliance serves the community by hosting the Back to School Clothing Sale. This event is held in the Fellowship Hall at St. Paul’s.
Gently-used clothing (especially for children and youth) are donated by members of the area churches, sorted by volunteers, and then displayed for “purchase”. The community is invited to come in and shop. The cost is $1.00 per plastic bag. This event provides much needed clothing for community members of all ages.
In addition, “undies” are also donated by members of our local congregations and distributed at the clothing sale. Shoe vouchers are offered (as available) to children and youth to purchase new shoes from the J.C. Penny store in Sedalia.
Seniors of North Benton County
The Seniors of North Benton County is a group seniors from the Cole Camp Community. Members of the group, together with the Cole Camp Senior Center director, Janis Garren, serve a noon meal each day of the week to seniors of our community. Additionally, they deliver prepared meals to senior through-out the community.
This group works hard to maintain the Senior Center as a place where seniors of the community may gather for meals, activities, and fellowship.
Early in 2020, this group and the Senior Center director undertook a major project – the remodeling of the Senior Center. In the beginning, contractors thought the remodel of certain areas would be adequate to restore the structure of the building. But as work progressed, it became necessary to totally renovate the entire structure. This new construction allowed for certain features to be added to make the Center more serviceable for meal preparation and to meet the needs of the seniors of our community.
Ministries We Support
Part of our stewardship includes benevolent giving to agencies outside the community. All of the offerings collected in worship on Maundy Thursday, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are given to these agencies (which change annually):
Gambia Rising has been the focus of a portion of our benevolent giving for several years. Gambia is a small country in western Africa, which is struggling to provide for the educational needs of the country.
Gambia Rising is a small committed team of Gambians and Americans working to make it possible for deserving Gambian students, especially girls, to stay in school. Every dollar of our benevolence is designated for scholarships to support the students.
The Show-Me Christian Youth Home located near LaMonte, MO, has also received a portion of our giving. Show-Me Christian is compelled to rescue and restore young lives. Since 1967, Show-Me has provided a safe, stable and loving home and family to young people struggling because of circumstances in their current home environment. Children may attend a school on campus or may attend the local public School.
Oaks Indian Mission located in Oaks, Oklahoma, has long been a benevolent recipient of St. Paul’s. Oaks Indian Mission was organized in 1891 and is called an “Oasis of Grace” found in the heart of the Cherokee Nation. This mission is to care for abused, abandoned or neglected Native American children.
The children (ages 4-18) are provided with a safe and stable environment in which to grow and mature in God’s love, learning qualities and building character that will help them to lead and serve others in their futures. Oaks houses 58 children in home-like cottages, where they receive love, food, shelter, clothing, and guidance.
Each May, the Social Ministry Task Force and the Budget/Stewardship Committee coordinates their resources to plan and organize our annual ELCA World Hunger Fish Fry. Invitations are sent to local congregations and throughout the community. Serving begins at 11:00 a.m. and continues until 1:30 p.m. About 200 meals are served.
ELCA congregations across the country contribute to the World Hunger Initiative, which is positioned to reach needs both here in the United States and abroad. From health clinics to community meals, this initiative works to get to the root of hunger and poverty.