The Rev. Shirley Edgerton, a retired United Methodist pastor from Topeka, said two reasons brought the event to a close. One, many individual churches were involved in their own food pantries, and an area-wide drive proved counterproductive.
“There’s no reason to have that middleman,” Edgerton told those gathered for a worship service following the collection, later adding, “We’re kind of doing what other people are doing.”
The second reason, Edgerton said, was encouragement from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. to have more Great Plains Conference-wide events, rather than continue events from its three former conferences.
The worship service, inside one of the fairgrounds buildings, provided an impromptu chance to reminisce for those gathered. The roundup was given its name and Western theme, Edgerton said, from former Kansas East Bishop Ernest T. Dixon Jr., a Texas native known for his cowboy hats…
Besides donations of nonperishable food and personal care items, churches in the area raised $238,216.20 to help the homeless in the area.
“At times when the group got smaller, the money did not,” Edgerton said…
Those involved can still do so in other ways, Edgerton said. Fundraising and items collected will now go to the UMCOR Sager-Brown Depot in Louisiana.
Just because the Bishop’s Roundup Against Hunger has run its course, she said, “that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things we can do.”
– Adapted from an article by David Burke on greatplainsumc.org; photo also by David Burke