Wyoming’s United Christian Outreach Ministry about more than filling bellies

Community

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A lot has changed since Dr. Bruce Roller took over as the executive director at United Christian Outreach Ministry.

Two years in, they renovated and moved into the space they currently use on Chicago Drive. There, they serve 6,000 unique individuals each year.

But perhaps the biggest change, he says, is the shift from the idea of filling bellies with whatever they could stock on the shelf to feeding people with the freshest, most nutritious food possible. They’ve done that by locally sourcing produce from 100 food farms across the area and cutting out the sale of sodas or candy.

“UCOM is unique, not one of kind, but one of about five pantries that really is absolutely concentrated on healthy living, healthy food, locally sourced food,” Roller said. “This is a community place. It’s a place where people can come together and be family, can get as close or stay as aloof as they need to and still have their immediate needs met. And beyond that, be able to have lots of options for, for bettering lives.”

In the 19 years Roller has been with UCOM, he says their relationship with Feeding America West Michigan has evolved with their food. As they began to make the shift to healthier eating, Feeding America West Michigan also started offering healthy and locally grown produce.

“Last year, we had $700,000 retail donated and from Feeding America, close to a million dollars if we had had to buy it off the shelves. So that, that says a whole lot,” Bruce said. “We’re very grateful for Feeding America and for the good organization, the good help that they’re able to do for us.”

WOOD TV8 and our parent company Nexstar have partnered with Feeding America for a three-year, $2 million campaign to fight hunger across America. Find out more about that initiative here or donate directly to your community, joining us in the fight against hunger.

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