For the last 10 years, Ballard Vale United Church has provided cereal to Neighbors in Need, a Lawrence based food pantry that provides food to needy families in the Merrimack Valley. We often deliver our cereal to NIN right before a vacation so that children will have a nutritious breakfast at home. Church members bring a box or two to church each Sunday and the children place it in the large cereal ark in our Narthex. We also sing a “Cereal Song”, much to the children’s delight. We deliver approximately 1000 pounds of cereal every year.
Ballard Vale United Church provided Christmas dinner for families in need in Lawrence. We pass out laundry basket that have a list of ingredients for a full Christmas dinner. We gathered 80 full baskets from our members and friends in time for Christmas!
Ballard Vale United Church is an active participant in the Nicaragua Covenant of the New England United Methodist Church. In 2008 and 2010 we sent a delegation to Nicaragua for a week to learn more about the people there and discern how we can be of help. Since that time, the church has been actively involved in sending material aid, sponsoring teachers for schools, supporting a sewing education program by providing sewing machines, and paying for delegates from Nicaragua to attend Annual Conference and worship with us. A personal connection is worth the time and effort involved. Four years ago, the church bought a gas cook stove for a feeding program in Nicaragua. Each year we raise funds to provide the gas needed for the stove.
In 2014, we organized a mission trip to the Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky. On July 20th, 2014, our group of 8 adults and 8 youth traveled to this area of Appalachia where they saw firsthand the extreme poverty that exists in our country. They worked to improve the homes of some of the poorest of the poor.
In 2015, a mission team from the church traveled to Salem Township, Maine. Thirteen people stayed at the United Methodist Economic Ministry and over a long weekend, helped an elderly local man by cleaning, organizing and ensuring safety to his home. Folks young and old took part in this mission. Our next trip is coming up in June 2016.