Matt’s Ministry is named to honor Matt Butler, a young community minded Ledford chapel parishioner , who died at the age of 23. His parents Maggie and Steve Butler helped others to organize and expand the ministry in his honor and continue to work in all facets of the ministry today.
MATT’S Mission Statement: Serving God by Serving Others
Our charge is to serve the least, last, and lost of our community with love and respect. The major emphasis of the ministry is to reduce the suffering of children, the needy, and the elderly. We do this by providing food, encouraging early life reading opportunities, and providing many other essentials, supplied with a large helping of Christian love and compassion.
Matt’s Ministry began in 2013 as a summer program to provide food for children in our community who qualify for free or reduced lunches during the regular school year and do not have adequate food during the summer or vacation period while school is out. This program, Later Matt’s Ministry, began as a response to a sermon and discussions with the pastor and Mrs. Roberta Barr, Professor at Young Harris College who was also a Ledford’s Chapel UMC parishioner. The effort to make this happen was led by members of Ledford’s Chapel but supported by most faith-based organization in Clay County as well as the local social and economic orientated organizations. In researching the summer food options a contact was made with Manna Food Bank of Ashville, NC, who was able to provide summer lunch bags at no cost as long as the community could set up a distribution mechanism. Funds were acquired from local organizations and churches to provide food to supplement the Manna supplied bags due to the long periods of time between food availability periods for the children. The summer contact with Manna grew into the idea of a food pantry and Ledford’s Chapel, along with other churches in the area, began enlisting the support for foundations such as the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (https://www.cfwnc.org/), The Duke Endowment (dukeendowment.org/), the Catholic Charities, the Episcopal Church of Western North Carolina, and many, many local churches whose members continue to make the ministry operate today.
Once up and running the ministry was named for Matt Butler, a young community-minded Ledford’s Chapel parishioner who died at the age of 23. His parents Maggie and Steve Butler helped others to organize and expand the ministry in his honor and continue to work in all facets of the ministry today.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (www.imaginationlibrary.com/) of Clay County came on-line as a result of concern of the reading level of the children in Clay County during the early years of school. Ladies from Ledford’s Chapel UMC visited organizations that supported the library in their local communities and determined that it could be done for Clay County children between birth and five years of age. These children are supplied an age appropriate free book monthly. Mrs. Maggie Butler (828-361-9083) has headed up this effort which serves in excess of 400 children each month.
Currently there are two major emphasis areas:
- Food: Our mission through Matt’s Ministry, (a project of Ledford’s Chapel United Methodist Church), is to work as an interfaith group focusing on the concerns of the Clay County community. The ministry places an emphasis on feeding those in greatest need especially children and seniors.
- Dolly Parton Imagination Library: Our mission is to increase the literacy level in the children in Clay County. Matt’s Minitry does this by providing funding for one book per month to every child in Clay County between birth and five years of age. CLICK HERE FOR THE BROCHURE AND FORM
More than 7.8% of all families and 11.4 % of the entire county population have income below the poverty level ($18,900), including 14% of those under age 18 and 13% of those over 65. This at risk community is in need of assistance. We are following the teaching and actions of Christ. For He told us that “when you do this to the least of these you do it unto me.” As a Christ-centered ministry, we have no choice but to attempt to transform the world, one individual at a time.
This ministry is confined to citizens of Clay County and is housed in facilities of Ledford’s Chapel United Methodist Church located on 123 WJ Cabe Road, Hayesville NC.
a) For children, we provide food packs weekly at school, child development centers, and to their homes.
b) Food is delivered to homes of those individuals in need and unable to attend a food pantry event.
c) We offer an open food pantry on Saturday mornings from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon. This timing allows the
working people in need, a time to visit and select from our food and other goods.
d) On most Saturday mornings, Sister Terry Martin of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Hayesville and others, often
operate a clothing cupboard for those who visit the pantry and need clothing items.
e) Food is collected/supplied by local growers, local organizations, and stores, as well as purchased and supplied by
Matt’s staff from Manna foods.
f) Contributions of money and time come from the members of the faith communities of Clay and Towns counties. The food pantry and Imagination Library are for Clay County North Carolina residents only.
Matt’s Ministry is a special ministry under the umbrella of Ledford’s Chapel UMC’s 501, but members of many of the local faith communities add their support to the ministry through contributions and volunteering to serve. The ministry has its own board whose members report to the administrative board of Ledford’s Chapel and are subject to the conditions and advantages of Ledford’s Chapel Church’s 501c3 tax status and EIN.
The members of the board of Matt’s Ministry are recommended by the pastor, chairperson of the Administrative Board, and chairperson of the Board of Trustees and approved by the Administrative Board and at annual Charge Conference. The board of Matt’s Ministry is to be composed of members of Ledford’s Chapel and members of the other faith communities subject to Ledford’s Chapel board approval. Functional area assignments and leadership positions for the components of Matt’s Ministry are to be recommended and allocated under normal conditions. Should it be necessary, the Administrative Board of the Ledford’s Chapel or the board’s appointee can provide resolution to all areas of conflict.
Donations from local churches, individual and charitable and several service and civic organizations of Clay County provide funds and other support.
The following is an alphabetical list of our sponsors and partners:
Church of the Good Shepherd
Community Foundation Of Western North Carolina
Downings Creek Baptist Church
Hayesville First United Methodist Church
Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church
McConnell Baptist Church
Mt Pleasant Baptist Church
Oak Forrest Methodist Church
The home of Matt’s Ministry operations is coordinated from the multi-purpose building located on Ledford’s Chapel property accessible from the 123 W. J. Cabe Road.