Every week at Faith United Methodist Church in Williston, North Dakota, volunteers gather on Saturday to prepare a meal for families who are looking for a connection to the community in the Bakken oil rush region.
Before the pandemic, about 60-70 people usually attend and connect on Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the need to feed and connect has not lessened. The ministry is now serving 120-150 each week.
Ten or fewer volunteers prepare the meals at the church and distribute the meals in take-out containers.
“The oil industry is laying off workers; reducing hours. We have seen an increased need. We are now serving more than 120 people each Saturday,” said Rev. Val Reinhiller, who serves at Faith UMC and coordinates Out in Faith Ministry in Williston.
The meals are distributed in a drive-up fashion. There is one person at the end of the block outside of the church. A vehicle will drive-up and indicate the number of meals that are needed. The order is called into the kitchen. Meals are packed, bagged, and delivered to the vehicles by volunteers wearing gloves.
“COVID-19 has drastically changed the economy in Williston. People need more assistance. Many can’t afford rent, meals, and groceries. We have set up an emergency food pantry. We are also seeing a higher demand for our infant or baby items—diapers, wipes, and formula,” said Reinhiller.
More people are projected to lose their employment. Retail stores are limited, and people are finding it difficult to get basic needs.
“We have a very limited number of stores in Williston. There is very little on the shelves. When a truck or shipment comes in, an announcement is made on Facebook, and within hours the supplies are gone,” said Pastor Val.
Out in Faith is one of the mission ministries that will be supported by your gifts to the 2020 Miracle Offering. Begin to prepare your hearts and minds for how you can live out God's call to generosity.
If you would like to help support Out in Faith directly, donations of diapers, wipes, and formula are also welcome. Contact Out in Faith by e-mail or phone 701-572-7694.