Growing In Grace Program

A ministry of the St. James United Methodist Women

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Our Mission

To encourage the physical, mental and spiritual growth of children in our community through nourishment of the body and soul.

BackPack Pals 1

Community Outreach

Backpack Pals

Each Friday, we fill backpacks with non-perishable food to provide children in need with nourishing meals they might not receive during the weekend without these supplementary items.

Click here to see how you can sponsor a child for this semester!

School Break Program

Prior to each extended break during the school year, we packs paper boxes with 10 days worth of food and deliver them to participating children’s homes to ensure they have food to sustain them during days they are not in school to receive subsidized breakfast and lunch.

Celebration Program

At Christmas and Easter, we host parties for children participating in the Growing in Grace program that give them an opportunity to feast on a nutritious meal and participate in fun activities, while giving us an opportunity to share the love of Christ.

Vacation Bible School and Church Activities

In addition to programs administered specifically for Growing in Grace, all participating children are invited to attend church-sponsored activities including evening and daytime Vacation Bible School. These activities give them an opportunity to interact with other children, participate in Christian activities and grow in their faith.



Susan Barrett
or via phone at


Opportunities to Contribute

Through God’s grace and your support, we will continue to bless these children by nourishing their bodies with food and their souls with spiritual growth.

• Donate individual sized, non-perishable foods.

– Protein: Chef Boyardee lunch buckets, Vienna Sausages, Beanie Weenies
– Drinks: Juice Boxes, Capri Suns
– Fruit: Applesauce, Fruit Cups, Raisins
– Breakfast: Cereal, Pop Tarts, Breakfast Bars
– Snacks: Granola Bars, Pretzels, Chips, Animal Crackers, Nabs, Pudding Cups, Gelatin Cups

• Contribute monetarily to the program.

• Sponsor a child for the school year  ($18/month or $180/year).

• Volunteer your time.

• Pray for the children participating in the program.

Growing In Grace – Gearing Up for Fall

The C4C Backpack Ministry of St. James United Methodist Church is in immediate need for volunteers.  Our Backpack Ministry of C4C provides supplemental food bags to children at Wahl Coates Elementary each week during the school year. Without this food, these children would have little to nothing to eat on the weekends.
We have more requests this school year than any previous year, and we still have not received all of the anticipated requests from the Kindergarten classes.  Even if we have enough food and funds, we may not be able to meet the needs of these children due to lack of volunteers. We do not want to be in the unfortunate position of having to turn down their requests.
We need the most help from volunteers willing to shop for food. We are looking for volunteers to commit to being purchasers for a specific item for the school year.  The volunteers would shop at either Aldi or Sam’s Club, and would make sure their items was always in stock at the church prior to a packing Sunday.  The time commitment (depending on how often you wanted to shop) could be as little as one hour per month or every few weeks.  
If interested, please contact Allie Plumb. She will be able to provide more specifics. or 309-530-5638
We thank you in advance for your consideration in helping us to serve as many students as possible through the Backpack Ministry.
We will hold a food drive on Sunday, 9/23 where the congregation can support the program with food donations or monetary donations. Collection bins will be located in the Fellowship Hall and Commons areas for donations. “Shopping guides” with suggested items to purchase will be passed out on Sunday 9/16.
Monetary donations are always appreciated. Checks can be made payable to St. James UMC and put “Backpacks” in the memo line. No amount is too small and any contributions are greatly appreciated. There are also opportunities for people to sponsor a child. A $100 contribution feeds a child for a semester and $200 feeds a child for the school year.
Anyone interested in more information can contact Susan Barrett at 252-916-6389.