BLUE SPRINGS – Kim Danley may be the founding director of the hunger ministry at First Baptist Church, Blue Springs, but her experience and passion go beyond the years of service and watching God work through a bag of groceries. She has lived it as well.
“I’ve seen the difference that Christ has made in my life and how someone else’s kindness helped me,” Danley said. “When I came to know the Lord, I was young, coming out of a divorce, and had two small children. I was a new Christian, and two ladies from my Bible study bought me a bag of groceries. I recall feeling happy, but also frustrated; why had God given me a bag of groceries instead of a job?”
One of the women from the Bible study answered Danley’s question: Maybe – just maybe – she’d someday be in the position to give someone else a bag of groceries. When that person is crying and saying, “You don’t understand,” Danley would be able to say, “I do understand.”
Thirty years later, First Baptist’s IMPACT Ministry is one of nearly 70 hunger ministries in Missouri funded in part through the Missouri Baptist Convention. As Missouri Baptists give to the Cooperative Program, some of these funds come back as grants from the North American Mission Board. In addition, hunger relief is one of nearly 20 ministries supported through gifts to the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering.
God has blessed First Baptist’s efforts through IMPACT, which has grown from a food pantry in a third-floor closet to a bustling ministry that now serves 450 families a month in 17 ZIP codes. Among the ministry’s services are a diaper and a laundry center, clothing closet, on-site prayer partners, 24-hour phone line, and Bible center.
IMPACT also recently provided 225 age-customized backpacks full of school supplies for local students. Plans are in the works for a one-chair care salon to provide free hair cuts and a mobile food truck to serve hot meals.
Danley said if anyone told her what she’d be doing 30 years ago, she wouldn’t have believed it.
“It’s just how God has worked in my life and through this ministry,” she said. “I can relate to those people who are coming in here, and I can tell them I understand. Maybe they have addictions or other barriers, but with Jesus it’s never too late. Them coming for that bag of food is just one more time to share the love of Christ.”
Tamara Parry serves as the MBC’s disaster relief coordinator and also works with Missouri Baptist churches to disburse funds for hunger ministries, which she says “are such vital and easy ways for Missouri Baptists to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We see Jesus meeting tangible needs consistently in Scripture, and that’s what we strive to do as well through ministries like IMPACT.”
Hunger ministries across the state are supported, in part, by Missouri Baptists’ generous giving through the Cooperative Program and the Missouri Missions Offering.
The Cooperative Program (CP) is the funding process Southern Baptists have used since 1925 to support missions and evangelism at the state, national, and international levels. Through CP, the mission of one church is extended to ministries that reach the lost, hungry, and hurting.
The Missouri Missions Offering (MMO) is the annual state missions offering that directly supports nearly 20 missions projects in Missouri.