From painting at local outreach centers, cooking in the Share soup kitchen, or walking children to school on the Walking School Bus, the members of Vancouver First are involved in outreach throughout the community and the regional Washington area. We would love for you to join us in as many of these opportunities as you can. If you are interested or have questions about any of the activities that you see listed please contact Gary in the church office.

Community Outreach Updates

WHO ~  Winter Hospitality Overflow, St.Paul’s Shelter

We want to express our appreciation and thanks for all who volunteered at the last minute to take a shift at St. Paul’s.  We received a call at Christmas that they had two unfilled weeks at the shelter coming up in little more than a week and were asked if we would help in this emergency  situation to find volunteers to take shifts.  Since we had not obligated our church for a week this year we took five days to try and fill.  Everyone was so helpful and we were able to fill most spots except during the night. This is such an important thing for the homeless to have shelter in the winter months. The men, the staff, and I are so grateful for those that stepped in and worked for a few hours.  Bless you all and I hope we can support the shelter again next year.

Thanks again,
Bev Thomas and the men at St. Paul’s

Volunteer Opportunity for Washington School’s Fresh Food Pantry

Volunteers from VanFUMC have provided a valuable service to the fresh food pantry at Washington Elementary School over the years. This continues as the school year enters another semester.

Currently, there is a need for a few more volunteers to be on the list for helping pick up and deliver fresh food to Washington School on Wednesdays. Currently, two volunteers meet Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with their vans or SUVs at the local food bank to load fresh food. They drive the food to Washington School, where they then unload it onto carts and wheel it in to the school’s pantry. Later, families of Washington students shop the pantry to prepare lunches and fill shelves at home for hungry youngsters.

If you would like to be a part of this ministry, please call the church or email program@vanfumc.org to put your name and contact information on the list and let’s help keep the pantry at Washington School filled!

Vancouver First helps ring in the new year for Salvation Army!

As we put a bow on the Advent season, the Salvation Army shared the good news of our fund raising efforts through the Bell Ringers program.

This year, the Salvation Army of Clark County provided Christmas assistance to 710 families, with a combined total of 3,294 people served this past holiday season.

And VanFUMC joined other churches, individuals, civic groups, school groups, and businesses in ringing the bells for the Vancouver Corps during the annual kettle campaign.

The Salvation Army’s Major Michael Nute recently shared in a letter to Vancouver First that “we are grateful for the quality time you invested, helping us make our Christmas effort so successful.”

He said that VanFUMC’s volunteer endeavor ringing the bell at the Fred Meyer in Hazel Dell helped raise $1,451.24, which will continue to help the less fortunate regain hope throughout the new year.

“It is because of volunteers such as yourself, which make it possible for the Salvation Army to serve those in need, within our community,” Major Nute said. “May God bless you and grant you a prosperous 2016!”

 Share and VanFUMC working together to feed families in need!

Update on share’s Mobile Pantry program, and need for volunteers

The Mobile Share Pantry, a program through SHARE, partners with VanFUMC using our large van as a vessel for delivering fresh meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables to families in need in the Vancouver Public Schools system.

Every Friday morning, SHARE workers pick-up our van, fill it with coolers and ice packs, and head to local food banks to fill those coolers with chicken, beef, cheese, milk, eggs, veggies and fruit. Once loaded with food, the driver heads to the first stop of the day, one of the area’s many elementary or middle schools with high free and reduced lunch rates. They are taking the fresh food right to those who need it the most.

At those schools, such as Washington Elementary or Discovery Middle School, other SHARE volunteers and members of each school’s Family Resource Center begin to set up a makeshift market and prepare the van to be boarded by shoppers. The shoppers are family members of students at the school who cue up in line and go through the Family Resource Center and its staff before grabbing shopping bags. Once on the van, the family members shop like you would at any grocery store. Some schools set up a fresh pantry in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, or even inside an area of the school. On some days, the schools put out sundries and other food collected from earlier in the week or month.

This program allows one-stop shopping for many items that large families in need just aren’t getting. The Mobile Share Pantry has been a boon for the local school district, and has added another dimension for solving hunger in the community.

Our church has been part of the Mobile Share Pantry since its inception. Now, the program has grown to an every Friday event, where the church van, full of fresh food, is met by SHARE staff at local schools. A mini market is assembled on the spot. After an hour, it’s all packed up and off to another school. The program continues to grow with more schools and families being added to the list. Eventually, SHARE will need more vans to keep up with the growing program.

In turn, SHARE will need volunteers on Fridays at the local schools to help pack and unpack the market and to assist the families with gathering, boxing, answering questions, translating when needed, and being a positive force for such a needed program. VanFUMC wants to be there with volunteers in this capacity to go along with our financial and physical commitment to the Mobile Share Program.

If you’re interested in volunteering your time on Fridays, please email the church office at program@vanfumc.org or by calling SHARE and inquiring how you can help with the Mobile Share Program.

Ongoing Events:

  • Scrip: To help fund our outreach activities, we sell scrip gift cards. Each month you can order gift cards from hundreds of vendors. You will receive the full face value on all SCRIP cards that you purchase. In addition, the business will donate a percentage of the sale back to the church for outreach. It is a Win-Win situation. Use SCRIP whenever you shop.  The order form and a list of all available vendors can be found in the following link:  For more information on Scrip, please click here.
  • SHARE lunches:  Each Thursday for the past 30 years, teams from VanFUMC cooks and serves a lunch at Share House.  If you would like to help with this once a month commitment, we can find a team for you to join. No experience necessary!

Past Events:

  • Courtyard Village Apartments – VanFUMC was heavily involved with the residents of Courtyard Village Apartments.  We cooked and delivered almost 300 meals, collected hundreds of stuffed animals, moving & cleaning supplies, and food items, granted close to $45,000 to residents for new housing, and so much more.
  • Our congregation donated more than 500 pairs of socks to the Vancouver School District Back-To-School Readiness event. School supplies were also donated to both this event as well as to our partner schools (Washington & King elementary and Discovery Middle School).
  • Fit ‘n Fun at First – Our annual 5k run/walk and 1k fun run for the kids, along with the carnival, was a fun day for the church and our neighbors.
  • During a Mission Possible event, we made 200 “corner bags” to be handed out to the homeless; our congregation prepared 170 backpacks for the Share backpack program, ensuring that kids in our partner schools would have a weekend’s worth of food to share with their families. We made “thank you” gifts and handmade cards for all of the teachers and staff at Washington Elementary School; we installed shelving storage for Washington School’s Resource Center as well. We also brought months’ worth of hygiene supplies and tied 30 fleece blankets for our friends at the WHO Shelter, as well as 25 gallons of homemade soup for them to warm up with at dinner time.
  • WHO Shelter – Volunteering at the St. Paul’s WHO Shelter. Thank you to all of those volunteers that brought food, and served many homeless in our community.
  • Trunk or Treat – Over 500 munchkins came through in costume, playing games and collecting candy from our congregation. Always a great time, regardless of weather.
  • Backpacks for Veterans: Backpacks used by middle and high school students are the perfect size to carry the veteran’s belongings. Instead of throwing your old backpack away or stuffing it in the closet, donate it for homeless veterans in the area. If you have a backpack to donate, please bring it to the church lobby on Sunday mornings.