-DELIVER HEALTHY MEALS-
“Instead of making people come to the
soup kitchen, we take it to them.”
-Allyson Caison, Wheels of Hope Coordinator
Wheels of Hope Mobile Food Ministries Selma, NC
Edgerton Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC) is alleviating hunger one delivered meal at a time. Church member Allyson Caison saw the need to help a food-insecure community in Selma, so she launched Wheels of Hope, a mobile food ministry.
After partnering with a school social worker, Allyson learned about the high rates of food-insecure children in the community. She introduced herself to community members in a nearby neighborhood and got to know them, gradually collaborating on an idea to launch a food ministry. The idea grew into a mobile food pantry that would bring food directly to families. A grant provided funds to purchase a trailer, establishing Wheels of Hope.
Once or twice a month, Allyson and other volunteers from Edgerton UMC prepare hot, nutritious meals in the church kitchen, pack and load the food into the trailer, drive to the community, and assemble to-go boxes for 100+ community members. Specific, healthy ingredients for each meal are donated from grocery stores or purchased with monetary donations from the church. Allyson also organizes book donation drives for children while their families receive meals. When the Wheels of Hope trailer pulls into the neighborhood, families walk right up to eat and connect with the volunteers. Edgerton also makes their trailer available to nearby churches in Selma who want to transport meals to other neighborhoods around town.
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Wheels of Hope started as a small idea and grew into a large production, but it is still a manageable
project for many churches or community groups. If you’re interested in delivering healthy meals to
people, follow Allyson’s lead and get to know your community first. Allyson worked with a community
partner to determine where a food delivery program would have the greatest impact and reach the
most people. She chose a community with a large Spanish-speaking population and hired a bilingual
intern from the community to help run Wheels of Hope. This allowed Wheels of Hope to overcome a
language barrier and build stronger, more trusted, relationships within the neighborhood. Wheels of
Hope partners with grocery stores that frequently donate extra non-perishables, produce, and bakery
items. Allyson tapped the volunteer base at Edgerton UMC to make sure food could be prepared and
delivered each month. Most importantly, Wheels of Hope works because volunteers built a relationship
with program participants, and meals are served directly to people who need them. Whether you’re
serving 10 people or 100, building trust and friendship with the people you are feeding ensures