The year 2020 has been filled with ministry challenges.  Through the OLYN program we have been busy serving our community while honoring pandemic health safety guidelines.  During this difficult time we clearly see how important it is for us to minister outside the walls of our church building, to meet the needs of our neighbors.  Through OLYN service teams we are able to be in mission to our community.  Look and see some of the ways we are working to bless others.





In January, 855 food sacks were packed

During the school year, food sacks were delivered - 2500 food sacks/year

With school closure in March food sacks were delivered weekly to the Salvation Army 

Volunteers greeted and mentored VBE Students

A taco dinner was prepared and served to VBE Families

During Teacher Appreciation week  meals were prepared and available through drive up service for VBE staff.  Our cookie ministry team prepared fresh homemade cookies with cards of encouragement for VBE staff.

Conducted a Prayer Walk on August 3rd.  See below for details. 

Ordered supplies for school kits and prepared over 700 school kits in August.   See below for more details.

Church donations exceeded the cost for the school supply kits. The excess funds were used to purchase 620 child size reusable face masks with a VBE logo.

Greeted students on first day of school! See details below.  Greeting students each Tuesday for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Packed over 450 Food Sacks on Pack-a-Sack Sunday. 

Donated funds for VBE's Scholastic Book Order.  The books were handed out at the schools Trunk and Treat night (Oct. 28th). 

Set up and served a Christmas chocolate fest for the teachers to enjoy. 



We deliver fresh produce to Samaritan Center and US Veterans each week

Multiple trips throughout the year are made by service teams to harvest vegetables.   



We prepare and serve meals each Wednesday and Thursday for homeless and low-income community members.   We have 10 cooking teams that rotate each week to cook meals on Wednesday with enough left over to serve on Thursday.  We also have  29  people on our list to serve as floaters. 


In August, 17 bakers baked homemade cookies for our weekly feeding programs. 


Here are a few quotes from the Salvation Army and those served.


"Caring for us is already a true gift we don't often feel from people"


"But your love for us is awesome!"


"Thank you so much for providing meals on a continuous basis & the great buckets you hand out to the homeless - and the gifts & donations you give us all. We can see and feel your love for us." 


"God glows from all of you every time I see you all!  You can truly feel Him in your hearts. And by feeling Him in your hearts & serving Him so freely, it spreads on to us and makes us seek the same love." 


Served 178 meals during our Thanksgiving feast at the Salvation Army and delivered another 110 meals on Thanksgiving day to homeless and low income members in our community.  


February 15, 2020, 525 church members participated in our 5th Annual OLYN Day event. Twenty-six ministries in the community were served.  Additionally, we held our first annual Family Fun Day.  Families from our EEC, Hope for Families Center, Samaritan Center and Homeless Children Foundation were on campus to enjoy slides, games, hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn and cotton candy.  Our Youth and Children's Ministry teams hosted this event. 


The Salvation Army

In April and May, we held 4 food drives collecting over 16,000 pounds of food for the Salvation Army food pantry.  Each time we thought there was no way we could top the last food drive, and each time we were proven wrong. We have such a generous and thoughtful church family and community.


In July we held another food drive for Salvation Army and collected 2500 pounds of dry goods bringing our total to 18,500 pounds of food! 

October 8th, we held another food drive and collected about 4000 pounds of food!  This now brings our total to approximately 22,500 pounds.  What a blessing to be able to help those in need.  As it says in Proverbs 22:9, "The generous will themselves be blessed for they share their food with the poor".  

Salvation Army Bell Ringing 2020

We are so greatful for all our bell ringers!  During this difficult year our community really stepped up and made it possible for the Salvation Army to exceed their goal of $200k through the Red Kettle bell ringing program.  Not only was the Countywide goal exceeded, FUMC raised more money at the Neighborhood Market location than ever before.  Our bell ringers raised $19,006.46!  These funds go directly to our feeding programs on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  In 2020,  with the help of our volunteers we cooked and served 9,528 meals at the Salvation Army and provided 1248 MRE's to the homeless in our community.  Thank you FUMC!

Vero Beach Elementary

Our team leader, Bonnie Swanson, organized the second annual chocolate fest at VBE to celebrate the teachers and staff at the school.  Our regular greeters met early to set up an amazing display of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. From candies to donuts and more, the table was filled with goodies.  Hot chocolate was a special hit.  

The Arc of Indian River County

The Arc of Indian River County has been serving individuals with special needs since 1975.  This year they provided our team leader Marg Kiefer with Christmas wish lists and monies for 24 of their residents.  Wish lists items ranged from robes, to socks, to pillows, blankets, color books and more.   Marg, Kay Arlington and Lynn Kiefer met at Beall's and began to shop!! Then they met a Marg's house to begin the wrapping.    A special thank you to Kay who was able to secure a nice recliner for one of the residents.  A Merry Christmas will be had by all of The Arc residents.  

Little Birthday Angels

Wow our FUMC family really came through for Little Birthday Angels (LBA).  LBA put up a Birthday Wish List Tree and asked for our church family to fullfill birthday wishes that ranged from gift cards, to shoes, watches, legos, shorts etc.  We started with 50 wishes and in less than a week our church family had picked those off the tree!  We added more and our church purchased or provided donations for purchase of more than 100 wishes!  LBA depends on donations to fill their Birthday Bags of Hope with wish list items and necessities.  These Birthday Bags of Hope are provided monthly to homeless children in 4 shelters (3 in Indian River County and 1 in Jensen Beach), 17 schools in Indian River County and 7 schools in St. Lucie County.  The need is great and once again our FUMC family came through.  

Safe Families for Children

Our youth group recently put together "goody" bags for the familes currently hosting children through Safe Families for Children.  These host families are caring for children in their homes and the youth wanted to show them that we care and appreciate all they do.  The care packages included candles, board games for the kids, hot cocoa, hand sanitizer, bath bombs and lots of other goodies.   Thank you FUMC youth!

Salvation Army Thanksgiving Feast

On November 25th we held our Thanksgiving Celebration at the Salvation Army.  What a joyous event. We dined outside under a 40 ft x 40 ft tent and the weather was fantastic. Our guests were treated to a full course Thanksgiving meal with turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans with bacon and homemade pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. What a feast! We served 178 meals on Wednesday and delivered 110 meals on Thanksgiving Day to homeless and low income community members. What a blessing it is to share the love of Jesus with many of our underserved neighbors. Our meal program at the Salvation Army is a ministry of compassion and love for homeless and low income community members. Our guests always express their gratitude for the tasty meals and the generous service offered to them.

Reverse Soup Bowl

Radical hospitality!  Like most non-profit fundraisers this year, the Samaritan Center had to cancel their annual Soup Bowl event.  This is a main fundraising event for their ministry.  But with the help of our generous church family, we decided to do a Reverse Soup Bowl.  Instead of giving a donation and getting soup, we gave both a donation and soup and served two of our OLYN ministries with one event.  The Samaritan Center received the donation and the Salvation Army received the soup for their food bank (1200 pounds of soup!)  2 Corinthians 9: 10-11 - Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.   As always our church was very generous and donated $5345 to the Samaritan Center.  And wouldn't you know it, that is more than we normally collect during our soup bowl event.  Thank you! 

Vero Beach Elementary - Teacher Appreciation Breakfast

We all know that this has been a challenging year and this is especially true for teachers and students returning to school, learning/teaching virtually or both.  So to show our love and appreciation for the teachers at VBE, our Tuesday morning greeters arrived a little earlier than usual and treated the teachers to breakfast complete with an assortment of bagels, muffins, fruit, coffee and juice.  The teachers seemed to really appreciate this gesture of kindness and love.  May we continue to pray for all the teachers, administrators, students and parents.



Vero Beach Elementary - Trunk and Treat

On October 28th, seven of our regular Tuesday morning greeters gathered at VBE to help with the school's Trunk and Treat event.   Prior to the event our church donated funds for the purchase of 620 books which were handed out.  Also prior to the event 600 gift bags with treats and goodies were assembled.   Thank you Francine Applebee, Kevin and Valerie Locker, Lynn Kiefer and Cheryl Reed for helping with the bag assembly.  It was so great to see the costumes and smiling faces on all the kids as they drove by and collected their books and goody bags.  A special thank you to our FUMC family for making this possible. And an extra special thank you to Angel Whitson for organizing FUMC's participation!  

Pack-a-Sack Sunday

On October 8th our church members at all three services participated in packing food sacks as they entered morning worship.  What a great way to enter God's house with compassion and praise.  Over 450 food sacks were packed and will be distributed throughout the school year at Vero Beach Elementary.  The food sacks are provided to food insecure students on Friday afternoons and are designed to fill the gap for the weekend with meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  A highlight of the morning was seeing and hearing children having fun packing food sacks.  Children serving other children, a beautiful demonstration of joyous service straight from the heart of God.  

A lot of work goes into making Pack-a-Sack Sunday a success.  On Friday evening, October 6th forty church members gathered to help unbox, organize and stack food, and break down and dispose of trash in preparation for Sunday.  

Vero Beach Elementary - Greeters

On August 24th, thirteen OLYN volunteers gathered to greet students arriving for the first day of school!  Our greeters held signs prepared beforehand by several FUMC members and the Youth Group and of course wore Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears.  Volunteers stood out front and at the bus loop welcoming families back to school.  Methods had to change a little from our previous years (mask wearing, social distancing and no high fives), but we saw a lot of smiles and waves as the cars passed in the car loop and the kids got off the buses.  Blessings to all the students, faculty, and staff for the coming school year.  A special shout out to our poster makers Bonnie Swanson, Paula Vanhooser, LaTrelle Kennedy, Susie Borgmeier, Carol Wilson and our Youth Group.  


Vero Beach Elementary -Schools Supply Kits

This past Sunday, August 9th, our church family helped pack 700 school kits for the children at Vero Beach Elementary.  But a lot of work went into this project before hand.  Our church staff worked hard unloading and sorting all the supplies in preparation for our church family to pack sacks as they arrived at church.  Also a special thank you to Angie Booth, Ester Rymer, Kandy Hill and Nancy Glass who packed pencil kits on Friday.  Our church family provided more than enough funds to purchase all the supplies needed for these kits with some left over which will be used to provide supplies for the teachers' classrooms.  What a blessing.  Thank you FUMC family! 



The Arc of Indian River County 

We recently were able to fill a request from the Arc of Indian River County to provide disinfecting spray and paper towels for surface protection against Covid-19. Shopping throughout Vero Beach we were able to purchase 11 spray bottles of Lysol 4 in 1 cleaner along with 15 rolls of paper towels. Thank you Marg Kiefer, our team leader, for delivering these items to the Arc.

Vero Beach Elementary - Prayer Walk

 A team of about 18-20 from FUMC, Pillar Church and VBE staff particiated in the August 3rd prayer walk.  This prayer walk was a true blessing. The team gathered at 7:20 am and began with a prayer outside the main entrance to the school and continued to six places throughout the campus.  Different individuals led the prayers as they felt moved by the Spirit. We ended in the main hall by the library where we prayed the Lord’s prayer together.  Thank you to all who joined us.  

Safe Families for Children

We were also able to fill a request by Safe Families for Children to help support a family needing weekend meals for the next three weeks. FUMC donated (3) $50 Publix gift cards to support this family of four (mom and three little children). Thank you Randy Hunt for delivering the gift cards to the family last Thursday (July 30th).


Little Birthday Angels


In May, we assisted Little Birthday Angels with their Birthday Workshop inventory.  In July, we also donated school supplies for school kits and hygiene items for the hygiene kits. 

Shining Light Garden

We harvested peas at Shining Light Garden in May. On August 15th, 24 FUMC members met to harvest sweet potatoes.  It was hot but many hands make quick work.  All ages helped pull,  place and stomp in vines  for new plants to grow and then harvest the sweet potatoes where the vines were pulled.   We received an email from another volunteer at Shining Light Garden describing how our efforts affect others.  

Howard McDowell of Community Church sent this email to the FUMC church office.

About 4 years ago I joined a group of folks from FUMC on an OLYN day that went to Shining Light Garden and on that Saturday morning, we planted potatoes…I was looking for a place to volunteer and decided to just show up on a Monday at Shining Light Garden. I now go there pretty much every Monday morning. The tasks there can be varied but today three of us who are regulars washed and crated sweet potatoes that had been harvested by someone else, and that harvesting is a big job requiring a fair number of people in the case of sweet potatoes. I asked Joel who had done the harvesting and he indicated it was FUMC…I wanted to express thanks. As I was leaving, a truck from Gifford community center was hauling away close to 20 crates of those sweet potatoes to be distributed to residents. A heartwarming sight. 

On August 29th we had 21 FUMC members who returned to harvest more sweet potatoes.  Joel told us this season is the best crop he has had! What a blessing for our community who will benefit from all the hard work Shining Light Garden and volunteers do.  We had a lot of fun and once again we were blessed with all ages helping out.  

The sweet potatoes just kept producing so on November 21st we had 6 folks harvesting!  It is a lot cooler in November than August and it looked as if we harvested even more than the previous two visits.  

Hope for Families Center

In May, we answered the call and delivered not only linens, but towels and games to the Hope for Families Center. 

Hibiscus Children's Center

In June, we once again answered a call and delivered linens and reusable water bottles to the Hibiscus Children's Center.