First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo

212 South Park Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 381-6340

Outreach Ministries

The First United Methodist Church Outreach Team acts as an advisory body for the church related to its outreach
ministries and missions at local, national and international levels. Outreach ministry has been a fundamental purpose of First United Methodist Church throughout its history. Our ministry of service to those outside of the church continues to be the way we most often identify ourselves. It is ourhope that if you are not already involved in any First United Methodist Church outreach ministries, this information will inspire you to contact someone who is. Join us by lending your gifts, talents, energy, and time to make the world a place where more people can experience, share, and celebrate God’s love.

Please also consider joining the Outreach Team. We would warmly welcome your concern and participation!


Donna Dunyak
Outreach Co-Chair
Jeff Swenarton
Outreach Co-Chair

Living faith ~
Touching hearts ~
Changing lives ~~
Click here to view a flyer created by the Outreach Ministries Team

Volunteer opportunities within FUMC

Any Soldier
What Is It? A ministry that sends packages of toiletries, snacks and handwritten letters to our military stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan on a monthly basis. All package contents and postage are donated by the congregation.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To help pack boxes on the second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. at FUMC.
Who should I contact? Lois Miles at 373-9871.

Bronson Park Food Pantry
What Is It? This is the food pantry located near the west entrance of FUMC that provides free groceries for up to 60 families weekly in need in Kalamazoo County. Food to supply the pantry comes from Kalamazoo County Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and our congregation. Recipient families are identified by Loaves & Fishes.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To staff the pantry Monday - Friday, 1-3 p.m.
Who should I contact? Judy Ross at 343-1978.

Camp New Day
What is it? It is a UMC-sponsored camp located in Reed City, MI for children with an incarcerated parent, ages 7-12 and 12-14, for one week in July. FUMC transports the children to and from the camp. Funding comes from churches throughout the state of Michigan.
Volunteers needed? Yes! Counselors are needed to give children a week of unconditional Christian love.
Who should I contact? Chuck Wilson at 388-5899,

Center for Transformation
What is it? It is a ministry to help persons released from prison make a successful re-entry into the community. This group makes monthly trips to Jackson prison to connect with and prepare inmates who are leaving. Financial support is provided by private foundations. Other networks support jobs, housing, mentoring, transportation and encouragement.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To work with the inmates to help them re-establish their lives.
Who should I contact? Chuck Wilson at 388-5899,

“Do All The Good You Can Do Day”
What is it? On the last weekend in September, the Outreach Team organizes activities to reach out and involve our congregation in ministries within our church and community. Last year we partnered with Chapel Hill, Milwood, Westwood and Sunnyside UMCs.
Volunteers needed? Yes! We want every member to participate in this weekend of activities. Put it on your calendar today!
Who should I contact? Donna Dunyak at 344-0056 or

First Stitchers
What is it? It is a group of women who meet every Thursday at FUMC from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to make baby and children’s quilts using donated fabrics. The quilts are donated to the local chapter of Binkie Patrol who distributes them where needed.
Volunteers needed? Yes! New members are always welcome!
Who should I contact? Dorothy Osborne at 343-5128.

Justice Team
What is it? It is a group within the church that comes together to hear and address institutional injustice, with representatives from other outreach ministries, the Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice and individuals interested in addressing global warming, environmental preservation and racism.
Volunteers needed? Yes! Anyone with a passion to right the wrongs of societal injustice will find companions for the struggle here.
Who should I contact? Max Brinkley at 372-4507 or Mollie Clements at 226-0910.

Martha’s Table
What is it? It is an outreach ministry that provides spiritual and physical nourishment to the marginalized population in Kalamazoo. Services are held at 4 p.m. at First Congregational Church each Sunday followed by a meal at 5 p.m. for approximately 35-75 individuals. FUMC is one of 10 participating churches.
Volunteers needed? Yes! Many are needed every week to serve as fellowship friends who meet and socialize with the guests. Volunteers are also needed for the kitchen crew to prepare and serve the meals. FUMC is responsible for the entire ministry about every 10 weeks.
Who should I contact? To become a fellowship friend: Susan Eden at 375-9880 or to join the kitchen crew: Donna Dunyak at 344-0056 or

Promise Helper Tutors
What is it? It is a ministry that tutors elementary students at Spring Valley Elementary School who need help with reading. Funds for the program have come from a FUMC special offering and a grant from the Henkel Corp. Last year
24 children were involved in the program.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To help children read 2 hrs./week during the school year. Both long term and short term commitments are available.
Who should I contact? Mary Bullock at 343-1132.

What Is It? It is a ministry that builds wooden ramps for disabled citizens of Kalamazoo County so that they may access their homes. Ramp recipients are chosen by the Disability Network of Southwest Michigan. One ramp is constructed each month from May through October. This ministry is supported with money from various grants, foundations and FUMC.
Volunteers needed? Yes! to design and build ramps.
Who should I contact? Tom Schaberg at 327-1821 or

Reconciling Ministry Team
What is it? FUMC is a reconciling congregation and invites all persons to join in our journey of faith. We strive to move toward reconciling relationships with all, affirming those who are marginalized for any reason, including sexual orientation or gender identity. We welcome all with OPEN HEARTS, OPEN MINDS and OPEN DOORS.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To join the team and to help with Pride Fest in June.
Who should I contact? Deb Search Willoughby at 349-9311 or

Robin Cabin
What is it? FUMC adopted an old cabin at Wesley Woods at least 20 years ago. In September 2004, the cabin was torn down and rebuilt with volunteer labor and funds supplied by FUMC. Every spring a day is spent to clean the cabin and grounds to ready it for summer use by the campers.
Volunteers needed? Yes! With clean-up and as camp counselors.
Who should I contact? Harold and Mary Beth Garman at 321-9332.

United Methodist Women
What is it? UMW meet monthly in circles at different locations, and also at a monthly meeting of the whole group at FUMC. UMW supports a number of outreach ministries with their time, talents and resources.
Volunteers needed? Yes! New members are always welcome!
Who should I contact? Joyce Treece at 375-8814 or Sue Paul at 349-8218.

“You Are Warmed By God’s Love” Blanket and Pillow Ministry
What Is it? It is a ministry that provides a variety of blankets and pillows to children in crises. All resources are provided by the congregation as monetary donations for materials or as finished donated items. All items are made at home and approximately 1/3 of the blankets are created by stitchers in the community.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To help sew, knit or crochet blankets and to sew pillowcases.
Who should I contact? Ellen McDonald at 372-1639 or Marsha McKenzie at 375-9895.

Youth Missions
What is it? It is a ministry for youth grades 7-12 that strives to actively develop and build a life of faith through Sunday morning fellowship gatherings, Sunday evening Youth Tribe activities and outreach mission activities. The youth also participate in the Appalachian Service Project each year as well as local mission projects.
Volunteers needed? Yes! All youth ages 7-12th grade are welcome.
Who should I contact? Julie Kline at 381-6340 at

FUMC supported community ministries

What is it? It is a 10K walk that supports programs to help hungry people locally and throughout the world. The walk is on the first Sunday in May. Sign-ups for people to walk and sponsor occur at FUMC for several Sundays prior to the walk.
Volunteers needed? Yes! To walk and to sponsor walkers.
Who should I contact? Jeanne Plott at 491-1464.

Deacon’s Conference
What is it? It is a Kalamazoo-based mission that shares Christ’s love by meeting the physical and spiritual needs of people in crises in the southwest Michigan community.
Volunteers needed? Yes! For a variety of activities all year.
Who should I contact? Deacon’s Conference at 344-7333 or for more information.

Gospel Mission
What is it? It is a Kalamazoo-based ministry that provides food, shelter and Christian life transformation programs for people in crises.
Volunteers needed? Yes! For a variety of activities.
Who should I contact? Volunteer Coordinator at 345-2974 ext. 250.

Housing Resources, Inc. (HRI)
What is it? HRI finds housing solutions for people in the midst of a housing crises, working to help stabilize homeless households as well as those in jeopardy of losing their homes. FUMC has supported HRI by the purchase, renovation and continued support of the Eleanor St. Shelter, now operated by HRI. Toiletry donations and cleaning supplies are given to the shelter through the “Christmas in July” program at FUMC.
Volunteers needed? Yes! For a variety of activities all year.
Who should I contact? The Volunteer Coordinator at 382-0287 ext. 114 or

Loaves & Fishes
What is it? This is the umbrella food pantry organization for Kalamazoo County, that provides emergency food for the hungry of our community. This ministry provides four days of food for thousands of people every week and is supported by special offerings, food donations by the congregation, and the Southcentral Michigan Food Bank.
Volunteers needed? Yes! For a variety of activities.
Who should I contact? Seema Jolly at 488-2617 ext. 209 or

Midwest Distribution Center
What is it? It is an UMCOR center located in Chatham, Illinois that collects, packs and distributes supplies for individuals involved in natural disasters or in great need. Volunteers needed? Yes! To help sort and pack at the distribution center.
Who should I contact? Lois Miles at 373-9871.

Ministry with Community
What is it? Ministry with Community provides food, daytime shelter and other basic services to central Kalamazoo’s homeless, poor, mentally ill and hard-to-serve adults. Through community cooperation, services are provided in an atmosphere of dignity, hope and unconditional acceptance.
Volunteers needed? Yes! For a variety of activities.
Who should I contact? Volunteer Coordinator at 343-6073 ext. 15 or

What is it? In support of the Michigan Organizing Project, congregations work together to change the underlying causes of poverty and injustice. Current task forces are working on initiatives on behalf of the homeless, those in need of dental care, healthcare, immigrants and low wage workers.
Volunteers needed? Yes! At any level comfortable for you. The more people who participate, the greater the power for change!
Who should I contact? Dan Christian at 353-5323 or Mollie Clements at 226-0910.

Open Door/Next Door
What is it? Open Door/Next Door is a ministry that provides shelters for homeless young adults, ages 17 to 35.  Individuals must be willing to address issues in their lives that contribute to their homeless condition. Shelter, food and personal assistance are provided while residents work toward financial stability and independence. The Open Door is the home for men and the Next Door is the home for women.

Other FUMC supported ministries

Christmas Giving Tree
What is it? The Christmas Giving Tree is a ministry that provides Christmas gifts to children who would not otherwise receive gifts at Christmas. A tree set up outside of the parlor entrance is hung with tags identifying the names of children with their gift wish. Members purchase the gifts, wrap them and return them by a designated date. The gifts are delivered by church volunteers to the family recipients.

First Care
What is it? First Care is a ministry that provides fee-based, fully licensed daycare to children in the community from 7:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday at FUMC. The children range in age from 5 weeks to pre-kindergarten. Contact Julie Meyers at 344-6147.

Foods Resource Bank (FRB)
What is it? Started in 1999 and based on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank experience, it is an organization that connects U.S. agriculture with people around the world to help vulnerable people feed their families. U.S. agricultural projects support small land owner agriculture in other parts of the world. Our church has been involved in FRB since 2005.

Global Ministries
What is it? FUMC helps support missionaries in five locations around the world: Thom and Chris Denman at Red Bird Missionary Conference, Kentucky; Delbert and Sandy Groves in Zambia; Jeff and Ellen Hoover in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Rev. Irina Margulis in Russia; and Helen Sheperd in Mongolia. They are supported annually through our Christmas and Easter Special Offerings.

Open Door/Open Hearts Ministries
What is it? Being in a downtown location, part of our mission is to offer our church facilities for use by community groups. Outside groups which meet at the church on a regular basis include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and GLBT Youth Support Group. Our church also serves as a New Year’s Fest location and is opened to the public for special downtown events including parades, concerts and art exhibits.

Pastor’s Discretionary Fund
What is it? The Pastor’s Discretionary Fund is money that is gifted to persons in crises (rent, utilities, transportation, prescriptions, etc.) as deemed appropriate by FUMC’s senior pastor. The money in the fund is made possible by donations from the congregation.

Russia Initiative
What is it? The Russia Initiative, which also includes the Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, is a partnership among church conferences, congregations and institutions committed to church growth and development in that region. It is sponsored and organized by the General Board of Global Ministries. The United Methodist Church recently celebrated its 100th anniversary in Russia.

United Methodist Church Ministry Shares
What is it? Each year, the United Methodist churches are asked to support mission outreach throughout the conference, nation and worldwide. Ministry shares are determined by the church’s annual operating income. Historically, FUMC has always paid its shares in full to the conference, a fact of which our church should be proud!

United Methodist Church Cooperative Group
What is it? It is a cooperative ministry between FUMC, Chapel Hill UMC, Millwood UMC, Stockbridge UMC, Sunnyside UMC and Westwood UMC. It is supported by the Staff Parish, Church Councils, and pastors of each church.

Wesley Foundation
What is it? It is a campus ministry at Western Michigan University that reaches out to all area college students. Students meet in small groups, gather for Sunday evening meals and Thursday evening worship. Students serve in missions locally, nationally and internationally.