Tucker First United Methodist Church | 5095 LaVista Road, Tucker GA 30084 | 770-938-3030
Friday, July 25, 2014
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Children playing

Children First

A mission outreach initiative of Tucker First UMC

Serving our community by offering ourselves in service to our neighborhood children.

red arrow Current components of the Children First outreach mission: 
Saturday Snacks, Lunch Buddy, Reading Partner, Collecting School Supplies
Saturday Snacks
Help us meet the needs of hungry children by providing snack bags to the children at Northlake Inn every weekend through the Saturday Snacks program.  Supplies are getting low!  You can help by donating the following types of canned goods with pop tops:
• Ravioli, spaghetti, lasagna
• Beanie weenies
• Chili with meat
• Vienna sausages, chicken only
• Chicken noodle soup
• Vegetable beef soup
• Fruit in individual cans (peaches, pears, oranges)

You can place your donations in the “Saturday Snacks” red buckets in the Sanctuary gathering room or in the Activities Center.

Lunch Buddy 

Each summer and winter break, the Children First Committee partners with local restaurants to provide lunches for about twenty children at Northlake Inn.  In addition to lunches, Monday deliveries include breakfast items. If you would like to volunteer to pick up lunches from a local restaurant at 11:30 am, or breakfast bags and milk on a Monday, and drop off at Northlake Inn, please contact Robin Pounds, 770/279-7238, robinpounds@bellsouth.net
Thank you for your support of this outreach ministry serving children in our Tucker community!


Jalyn Young, 8, enjoys eating a pepperoni pizza provided by Tucker
First United Methodist Church. A UMNS photo by Lori Johnston.
(Flash video and image used by permission)
 TFUMC Youth pack breakfast items for kids at Northlake Inn
Want to know more? Contact Robin Pounds at robinpounds@bellsouth.net.

Joanna, the Northlake Inn manager, reports:

"The kids think it's Christmas every day when your church members walk in with bags of food. You are helping them more than you know."

The background on our Lunch Buddy program.  Many children living in our community return home to empty cupboards or limited supplies of food, especially when they are not in school. Finding where we could help address this area was our first step.
With the help of committee members we began by contacting Midvale Elementary and were directed to the Northlake Inn in Tucker. Using as our model similar feeding programs in place in the metro area, we planned out a calendar to deliver food to the Northlake Inn for the children living there during their 2008 winter break. These are kids who during the school term receive free or reduced cost meals. 
Local restaurants donated or supplied us with at meals at cost for the holiday period. Volunteers packed, picked up and delivered breakfast and lunch to the children. The success of the winter holiday program led the committee to feed the kids during spring and summer break. 

Reading Partner 


Many children in our community schools are struggling academically. To have an adult "partner’ listen to them read and be their friend was the seed idea. The added time of tutoring and working one-on-one with an adult gives the student extra time and individual attention to particular academic needs. Our Reading Partner program was started at Nesbit Elementary in the fall of 2009. The school is home to 1,500 students from all over the world. Ninety per cent of the children’s families live in apartment homes and are identified as being in the low socio-economic part of society.

In 2010, 18 adults volunteered to be a Reading Partner at Nesbit Elementery School. By the end of the school year these wonderful "angels" had given over 200 hours of service to over 35 children! Several of the volunteers had more than one student to whom they dedicated their time.

You don't have to be a member of  Tucker First to be involved in our program; interested community members are welcome and encouraged to participate.  All it takes is 30 minutes each week per student. You will listen to the student read, talk with the student, mentor the student, and be a friendly support to your child.  If interested in volunteering, contact the church office and ask for the Reading Partner coordinator, Sally Crawford, to call you. 

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Collecting School Supplies

The United Methodist Women (UMW) and the Children First Committee joined forces this year to lead our annual school book bag drive.  Thanks to the generous support of our congregation, 75 book bags were filled and donated to our Children First Lunch Buddies at Northlake Inn, to Gwinnett county and to DeKalb County DFACS.  These bags went to children who would not otherwise have supplies for school.  red arrow See our photo album to see just how much it takes to fill 75 book bags!
Because families come and go from Northlake Inn throughout the year, the Children First Committee has decided to continue to collect school supplies throughout the year.  red arrow This year's list of needs.   

  The History of How Children First Came to Be

During the visioning process, our team learned that most central characteristic of an effective, successful church is its specific, concrete ministry objective.  In March 2007 the Board of Stewards adopted the following as our ministry objective:
To adopt after-school-care for pre-K through high school students as the ministry objective for Tucker First.
The implementation team determined our space facilities could not accommodate a formal "after-school/care giving" program. Not to be defeated, the team continued to look for other ways to serve the children in Tucker's community.  Our ministry objective is Children First. 
In 2008, two programs were implemented:
  1. reading buddy program: reading to students at Nesbit Elementary School
  2. school holiday lunch buddy program: providing ready-to-eat breakfast and lunch meals during the school holidays to children who during school are on free or reduced lunch. 
Join us this year as we continue to put Children First!