For many of us, Thanksgiving is all about food, family and football. But if you're among the more than 321,800 Twin Cities-area residents who live in poverty1 or experience food insecurity,2 Thanksgiving is just another Thursday.
St. Paul-based Union Gospel Mission was founded in 1902. Since 1958, it has provided hot and healthy holiday meals to thousands of homeless, homebound, hungry, hurting families and individuals. In 2016, it provided 60,000 Thanksgiving meals.
According to Brian Molohon, vice president of development for Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities, the reason is simple: "Hope begins with a meal," he says. "Our Thanksgiving food drive and distribution isn't about solving the area's hunger problems, although it would be wonderful if it could.
"It's about helping people rebuild and restore their dignity by providing a warm meal given and prepared with love," he adds. "And connecting them to other programs we offer, such as education and substance abuse counseling."
Lead a team, make a difference
Six months ago, Thrivent community engagement leaders and representatives from the Central Minnesota and East Minnesota & Northwest Wisconsin Thrivent Member Networks met with Molohon to talk about partnering with the mission to make an even bigger impact on its 2017 Thanksgiving food drive and distribution. The two faith-based organizations have worked together many times throughout their histories.
The result is the Heart for Hunger program, which runs from June 1 through Sept. 18, 2017. Here's how members of the Central Minnesota and East Minnesota & Northwest Wisconsin Thrivent Member Networks can help:
- Lead a Thrivent Action Team – Gather friends, family and fellow church members to raise funds or collect nonperishable food items to support the Mission's annual Thanksgiving food distribution. To apply:
- Visit Thrivent.com/actionteam and click on "Apply Now."
- Complete the application and click on "Submit." (Be sure to specify "Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities" as the recipient and enter "Heart for Hunger" as the project title.)
- Once your activity is approved, you'll receive $250 in seed money from Thrivent to jump-start your event as well as a kit containing T-shirts and a banner to create visibility!
- Direct available Choice Dollars® to Union Gospel Mission.
- Donate directly to Union Gospel Mission.
Added incentive to lead a team
Need another reason to lead a Thrivent Action Team? When you apply for your Thrivent Action Team event for Union Gospel Mission - Heart for Hunger project between June 1 and Sept. 18, you'll receive two tickets to see the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the University of Maryland Terrapins in Big Ten football at TCF Bank Stadium on Sept. 30, 2017.
Plus, your team members will be able to purchase game tickets at the discounted price of $20 (regular price is $35!) and sit in a special Thrivent section. You'll receive a promo code to share with your Thrivent Action Team participants upon submission of your team's results.
Need some inspiration for your Thrivent Action Team? Here are a few ideas (PDF) to get you started!
Not a Thrivent member, but want to help?
Union Gospel Mission is promoting the Heart for Hunger program on its homepage to give its supporters the opportunity to receive $100 in seed money to lead a fundraising activity.
Together we can make a difference.
Food drop-off sites
Funds and food items (PDF) collected can be delivered to:
Thrivent Financial Golden Valley
701 Xenia Avenue South, Suite 550
Golden Valley, MN 55416
Thrivent Financial Waconia
129 W Main St.
Waconia, MN 55387
Thrivent Financial Burnsville
12700 Nicollet Ave Suite 120-b
Burnsville, MN 55337
Thrivent Financial Roseville
2780 Snelling Ave N. Suite 201
Roseville, MN 55113
Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities Central Services
435 University Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55130
1 Minnesota Compass, led by Wilder Research, 2017.