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By David Burleson

Burke CountyDavid Burleson



As the 2018/2019 year comes to a close, the Burke United Christian Ministries (BUCM) has many reasons to give thanks.  Our ministry has been able to complete renovations to our food pantry, welcome center, showers, and storage areas.  A huge thank you goes to Roofing Brothers for the outstanding work they did. With the support and work of Lawrence Camp, BUCM has taken a huge step in becoming “paperless”.  This automation has saved us time and money.   BUCM has truly been blessed this year with an incredible staff and wonderful opportunities.  Without these two groups, our ministry would cease to exist.  We have also been able to establish new partnerships and forge new relationships as well as strengthening our existing community partnerships.


These blessings are perfect examples of what can be accomplished when a community works together.  BUCM continues to be blessed with wonderful supporters and volunteers. Because of our community’s support, BUCM has been able to meet the needs of our Burke County Neighbors in the following areas:

  • A total of 78,940 individuals representing 36,722 households received services
  • Soup Kitchen served 75,665 meals (Adult – 72,109, Children – 3,556)
  • Food Pantry distributed 1,080,029 pounds of food to 22,766 individuals
  • Clothing Closet provided 5,568 Individuals with clothing valued at $105,849.59 (over 600 children were assisted with back to school items with a grant from the Burke Youth Opportunity Philanthropists of the Community Foundation and the Burke United Way.)
  • Senior Santa brought cheer to 170 individuals
  • Wood Ministry provided loads of wood to 62 individuals
  • Baby Bucks Ministry provided 326 young children with diapers and wipes valued at $ 1,808 along with 18 Better Start Baby Bags. (This assistance was made possible through the diaper closet at St. Matthews Methodist Church and by the support of Morganton First Methodist Church and the Burke Women’s Fund)
  • Volunteers gave 43,490.75 hours valued at $1,066,038.02
  • Homeless Assistance Provided
    • Homeless Supplies – 551 Individuals received materials valued at $10,145.50
    • Laundry Vouchers – 500 (Thanks Hunter’s Laundry Mat of Your Support)
    • Rain Hill Shower Kits –
    • Showers – 1,990
  • Crisis Financial Assistance Provided
    • Cooling – $35,049.28
    • Heating – $29,189
    • Rent – $36,799.93
    • Utilities – $33,692.01
    • Food Pantry – $47,711
    • Soup Kitchen – $56,055.92
    • Total Community Assistance – $238,496.85

As evidenced by the statistics above, Burke County is a caring and supportive place to live and work.

On June 29, BUCM held our second annual golf tournament, Chipping for Change, at Silver Creek Plantation.   The tournament would not have been possible without the work of Ms. Haven Worley who put this very successful tournament together for BUCM.  A big thank you also to Terry Rogers and his staff at Silver Creek Plantation for all their help and support.  Without our sponsors, the tournament could not have been the success it was.  We are greatly appreciative of the following full sponsors:

  • Wendy B’s
  • Food Lion
  • Chic-fil-a
  • Pepsi
  • Country Side BBQ
  • Grey & Betty Carswell
  • James Tool Machine and Engineering (2 Holes)
  • Carbon City Body Shop
  • Carolina Health Care System Blue Ridge
  • Boggs, Crump & Brown PA
  • Larry McMahon & Rob Denton
  • Toni Powers
  • Mobile Services
  • AJ’s Steak House
  • Small & Martin
  • Hidden Valley Venue

Our half hole sponsors were:

  • Riverside Golf and RV Park
  • Catawba Company
  • Nationwide (Kelly Messenhiemer & Keith Bowers)
  • Burke Bedding

A big thanks to our hole in one sponsors:

  • Case Farms
  • Ricky Bristol
  • Mark Buff

With the high summer demand for additional food, the funds raised from the golf tournament will be used to meet this summer’s demands in the soup kitchen and food pantry.

Burke United Christian Ministries extends gratitude to the grocery stores and restaurants that we harvest from weekly. Food Harvesting may seem like an interesting term to you, so let us share our definition with you: Going to local grocery stores and restaurants to pick up items that are nearing their sell-by date or are leftovers to be donated to our ministry. These items include, but are not limited to fresh produce, meat, bread, desserts, pizza, soup, and frozen food. Some of our partnerships with stores are through Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. We appreciate all of the places that allow BUCM to Food Harvest from, including: Food Lion at Fiddlers Run, Food Lion on Fleming Drive, Food Lion on Bost Road, Food Lion on Burkemont Avenue, Food Lion on Main Street in Valdese, Walmart Super Center, Walmart Express, Little Caesars’ Pizza, Pizza Hut of Morganton and Valdese, The Pie Hole, Moon Dog, Timberwoods, Abele’s Family Restaurant, Yianni’s Restaurant and Panera Bread. Consider supporting these stores and restaurants as gratitude for their generous donations.

We, at the Burke United Christian Ministries, believe our volunteers, sustaining churches and community members are essential to our mission if we are to meet the needs of the diverse group of clients we serve.  It is my prayer that each of our churches would make a commitment to provide support to our clients.  If any church, Sunday School Class or individual would like to donate or volunteer, we would love for you to do that.  We are so appreciative to our churches and community members whose support makes BUCM possible.

As we have stated many times, our ministry is stronger because of the support and participation of our volunteers, board, and staff.  A special thank you to the following retiring board members:

  • Brad Arrowood
  • J. Mark Rostan

More than anything, I ask for your prayers for me and for our ministry that we would make Godly and wise decisions.  I also ask that you pray that our clients not only be provided the resources they need but also, that we would be Christian role models for their lives.

I want to personally thank our churches for their leadership in our community.  Our faith community is very important to me and I believe that to develop a strong ministry that meets the needs of others, we need to involve our faith community in every way possible.  For too long, organizations around our country have separated themselves from the churches.  I believe we need to welcome the influence of our churches and godly individuals into our community organizations in any way possible.

Again, thank you for your support of Burke United Christian Ministries and for your efforts to help those in our community. Thank you for all you do for our community, and I look forward to working with you in the future.  Feel free to call me at (828) 433-8075 or email me at if you any questions or suggestions.