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). 


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." 

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".  

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.  

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.