hunger ministry

we are all about feeding people in body and spirit. 

St Paul’s Hunger Ministry feeds over 115 families in the 20895 zip code. 

We serve families who struggle to make ends meet and put food on their tables. 

Upcoming Grocery Distribution: 

Monday, February 3, 2020 at 7:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall

On the 1st Sunday of each month (unless we are adjusting the schedule because of a holiday), St. Paul's members and friends gather in Heavener Hall following worship to sort and organize donations. The following day, our clients who face hunger come to St. Paul's to receive grocery bags full of pantry staples, donated produce and bread, a hot meal, books for children, and fellowship. 

One thing we have learned: area food banks are desperate for help year-round. People respond well during the holiday season when food pantries fill to the brim. But as the year unfolds, the need remains while the shelves empty. To meet this need, the St. Paul's Justice and Compassion Team invites you to contribute generously each month. 


Communion Sunday mornings, the first Sunday of each month, following each worship service (9:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.), friends of St. Paul's fill our donation bins with non-perishable foods, and volunteers transport food from the Narthex to Heavener Hall, sort grocery items, and organize bags.

On the following day, volunteers arrive at 6:45 p.m. to set up for Monday night distribution. Additional food sorting, greeting recipients, serving a hot meal, and working on seasonal projects are all possible tasks. Our volunteer drivers deliver food to recipients who are home-bound. 

To get involved, contact the church office at 301-933-7933 or The office staff will get your message to our Hunger Ministry coordinators, and they'll find the best ways for you to be involved!


We provide a hot meal and grocery items once a month. Families with children may also receive children's books. Special Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas gifts for children are offered seasonally. Here's how to receive assistance here:

  • Recipients should arrive at the Heavener Hall entrance to St. Paul's UMC at 7:30 p.m. on Distribution Nights (the Monday following the first Sunday of each month). To stay on top of any schedule changes due to holidays, please check this site or the paper letter distributed each month along with the food.
  • New recipients should bring a piece of mail or other evidence showing an address in the 20895 area. That's it! There are no income requirements, no need for referrals, no ID checks... we'll feed anyone living in the 20895 ZIP code area.
  • Please note, our program is limited to those who live within the 20895 ZIP code. (Please see the section below for other resources if you don't have a 20895 address.)
  • If you cannot attend on distribution night, please call 301-933-7933 ext 511 before 12:00 noon on distribution day, to request a pick up in the church office during the week. 
  • We have a limited capacity to offer home delivery to those who are disabled or home-bound - please contact us to discuss this possibility.


We welcome non-perishable food, Safeway & Giant grocery store gift cards ($20 value each, please), and financial donations any time. 

Food Donation Suggestions 

  • Non-perishable food items can be placed in bins in the church Narthex at any time. 
  • We always need the pantry staples listed on the shopping/packing "Bag #1 and Bag #2" lists (see below).
  • We especially need cold and hot cereals. 
  • ALL unopened, shelf-stable donations are appreciated. Bottle of olive oil? Box of pancake mix? Granola bars? Crackers? Nuts? We'll take it!

You can help streamline our sorting process by packing a full bag of essential food items using the guide below. Please attach a number to your filled bag so we know when it's ready to distribute - no additional sorting or packing needed!

Bag #1  

Rice - 1 bag or large box or 2 small boxes

Beans - 1 bag or 2 cans

Pasta - 1 box or bag

Pasta Sauce - 1 large jar or can

Mac & Cheese - 2 boxes

Chicken Breast - 1 or 2 cans

Tuna (or other fish) - 2 cans

Bag #2

Vegetables - 3 cans

Fruit (including applesauce) - 2 cans or jars

Peanut Butter - 1 jar

Jelly or Jam - 1 jar or bottle

Soup - 2 or 3 cans


Please deliver donations to the church on Sunday mornings, or throughout the work week, Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Food is sorted on the first Sunday of the month; food is distributed to families the following day. 

Resources for those outside our service area

We provide food, a meal, and children's books to those living in the 20895 ZIP code. Defining our service area allows us to scale our program in a sustainable way. All families who receive food through St. Paul's are asked to show proof of address once a year - we do not ask for any proof of income, citizenship, or any personal information beyond that and do not share our clients' information.

For assistance outside of our 20895 area, or in addition to the Hunger Ministry food aid we offer, here are some helpful resources. (Please note: St. Paul's UMC is not affiliated with these organizations nor responsible for their services or policies.)

emergency food assistance

In addition to our ongoing Communion Collect monthly food distribution, St. Paul's works with Bethesda Help to deliver a three-day supply of food on weekdays to Kensington area 20895 individuals and families, usually within 24 hours of the request.


If your family needs an emergency delivery of food, please call 301-365-2022.

In addition to 20895, Bethesda Help serves other zip codes. Visit their website for more information about their supports and service area. 

National UMC & Campus Kitchens

Making Meals Possible

For over two years, St. Paul's has served a hot dinner at our Hunger Ministry monthly food distribution. Delivery drivers stop at St. Paul's on the first Monday of each month with trays of food ready to nourish hungry families and hearty volunteers. 

The meal has been made possible by Campus Kitchen DC, a food ministry of National UMC, which rescues good food, has it transformed by Campus Kitchens, and then delivers it to programs serving those in need. 

You can read more about the mission of National UMC and learn about their efforts region-wide at We are proud to be community partners, working together to eliminate hunger.

Raise the dough:

A Campaign by our Partners at National UMC

February 15-22, the Campus Kitchen DC, a food ministry of National United Methodist Church, competed against Campus Kitchens at other institutions across the country in the annual Raise the Dough Challenge.

Thanks to all who donated directly to the Campus Kitchen Washington DC campaign!

Your critical support helps Campus Kitchen DC continue to recover food from Mom's Markets in DC and Virginia, from Palantir Technologies in Georgetown, and Sidwell Friends School and Horace Mann Elementary in DC. In the past year we have welcomed volunteers from the congregation, community, and from universities such as American University, Georgetown University, and as a "spring break alternative" program from Georgia State University!

Campus Kitchens

Each month, St. Paul's volunteers and families participating in our Hunger Ministry efforts are invited to enjoy a hot meal and time of fellowship in Heavener Hall when they arrive to pick up their grocery items. The dinner comes to us monthly through our partners at National UMC and their work with the Campus Kitchens Project.

Based in Washington, DC, the Campus Kitchens Project links schools large and small with volunteers dedicated to helping end hunger and reducing food waste. Volunteers recover good food from cafeterias and university food services programs that goes unused but would otherwise be thrown out. Volunteers and partners then help prepare fresh dishes and deliver meals to community-based programs like ours, in neighborhoods throughout their local area.

College student and youth volunteers gain first-hand experience in community service and leadership, and the Campus Kitchens initiatives also provide culinary training and educational opportunities for underemployed adults. There are currently over 60 schools across the nation participating in Campus Kitchens.

To learn more, visit

Past partnerships

Hungry Harvest: This group reclaims fresh produce that would go to waste such as grocery store overstock or mis-shapen "ugly" fruits and vegetables. Individuals subscribe to a box delivery program, and for every box delivered, Hungry Harvest delivers produce to charitable organizations working to reduce and end hunger. Subscribers from our region support produce distribution to food desert and low income public school areas in Baltimore, MD. Visit to learn more about Hungry Harvest's mission, delivery area, and sign-up options. 

Rise Against Hunger: As part of St. Paul's "Great Day of Service" in 2017, our church community worked together to weigh dry ingredients, seal bags, and complete over 30,000 meals kits. These were added to a shipping container with another 285,120 meals from the National Capital area warehouse and sent to partner agencies for distribution in El Salvador. Rise Against Hunger meals served 20,000 beneficiaries in El Salvador at 100 different feeding centers.

Interfaith Works Shelters: What do we do with leftovers from Hunger Ministry meals and large events at St. Paul's? In the past, we have donated prepared dishes to homeless shelters in our area to feed their residents. Interfaith Works announced that they will be phasing out services at their nearby Men's Carroll House Shelter and closing that location, so we're looking for a new partner.