CLARKSVILLE, TN- Over the past 4 months the Clarksville F.U.E.L. program, led by Denise Skidmore, has worked tirelessly to feed thousands of children in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area every week. Starting at nearly 3,000 bags per week and growing to meet the need of approximately 7,000 bags per week, the organization relies on donations, both monetary and food donations, and countless volunteers from community churches, businesses, organizations and individuals to reach weekly goals. Hilldale United Methodist Church has partnered with F.U.E.L. since March, providing a central location for the program to store supplies, hold volunteer packing days and distribute food bags every week.
Pastor Stephen Sauls, also a father of children in the local school system, has seen the reality of undernourished children in our elementary schools and how access to food affects the classroom, school, and the long-term future of the child. Sauls said, “The work of feeding hungry children is the work of God in our community. Our church is honored to have partnered with F.U.E.L. during this pandemic and believes that providing much-needed food to our community’s children is a crucial ministry of hope and provision during these difficult times.”
Providing food, volunteers and funding for this program has been a defining part of Hilldale UMC’s ministry since members began volunteering with the F.U.E.L. program in 2004, when Skidmore started the program at the church. As the program grew, incorporating more of the Clarksville community, Hilldale helped to support its growth into the non-profit organization it is today.
Frank Wilson, retired principal of Kenwood Middle School and Hilldale UMC’s F.U.E.L. Coordinator, knows first-hand how vital a role this organization plays in the Clarksville community. Wilson explains, “F.U.E.L. is an integral mission for the members of this church. We gladly take the opportunity to assist in this program during the school year. During this pandemic, we have been blessed in providing a location for the centralization for packing and distributing bags for this program. We continue to participate in this necessary program for our children. To provide needed food for those with food insecurities is something that we will be there for until it is not needed. God bless all that participate.”
Clarksville-Montgomery County school system start dates and expected availability for a return to packing in individual local churches have shifted but the needs of the children of Clarksville have not. Hilldale UMC encourages members of the Clarksville-Montgomery County community, and those beyond our borders who would like to help continue to meet this need, to contact Denise Skidmore at 931-624-3181 or visit http://www.fuelforkids.org to find out more.