Serve: Local

Serve: Local

As a church body, First United has not only been called to missions globally but also locally. Jesus and his followers declared the good news of the kingdom by both words and deeds. Because of this, we are committed to creating an alternative culture that declares this kingdom in both words and deed – especially to the marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed in our city.

We embrace the call to give of ourselves and go where others are not going, and reach out and love the isolated, unreached, and those deemed untouchable by society. We currently help coordinate and facilitate multiple outreach opportunities that are focused on serving and impacting our community. Join us by getting involved!

Local Serving Opportunities

Unless otherwise noted, the contact for serving opportunities is Forrest White, Director of Missions

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Mission: To create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Vision: All youth achieve their full potential. Contact: Angie Pattison

Children's Clothes Closet

The Children’s Clothes Closet began in 1978 as an outreach of the First United Methodist Church United Methodist Women. Annually this ministry supplies nearly 2,000 homeless and at-risk infants, children, and teens in our community with everyday clothing, school uniforms, personal care kits, and more. Please note: the Children’s Clothes Closet does not work directly with clients. For assistance, please contact your child(ren)’s school social worker to request they make a referral for services.

School Year Hours

Monday: 1-4pm

Wednesday: 9:30am-1pm

Summer Hours 

May 27-31: Closed

Monday: 1-4pm

Address: 748 Walnut Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801

Phone: 863-683-2086

CROS Ministries

Programs include food pantries, hot meals programs, and gleaning to fight food insecurity in South Florida.

First United Monthly Food Collection

We collect requested food on the first Monday of each month for our migrant ministry partners (Mulberry UMC and Called to Serve Farmworkers) as well as VISTE. Help bag and sort food in our Missions Depot.

Florida United Methodist Conference Disaster Recovery

Provide a caring Christian presence to storm survivors while doing such tasks as debris removal, roof tarping, and mucking out flooded homes. Requires training.

Habitat for Humanity

Help build a house for a family to make their home. Carpentry skills are not required. Willing helpers are always welcome!


Families gather on the first Wednesday of each month during the school year to pack meals for local children who may not have enough food for the weekend. First United members also deliver meal packs to schools for distribution. Contact: Skip Stevenson

Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine

Health care center providing free, high-quality medical care to the working uninsured. Twice monthly food distributions. Serving roles for all, not just medically trained.

Noah’s Ark of Central Florida

Opportunities to visit and play cards with residents. Noah’s Ark seeks to empower “people with developmental disabilities to live, laugh and love.”

One Blood - Bloodmobile

Big Red Bus comes to First on six Sundays during the year.

Paint Your Heart Out Lakeland

Annual event to serve homeowners around the city.

Peace River Center

More than 30 programs in 27 locations, with services including group homes, domestic violence shelters, victim advocacy, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services, and much more. First United has an annual collection of items for holiday gift bags for residents.

Philip O’Brien Elementary School

First United’s partner school. Assist in the classroom, library, or main office. Serve as a math or reading tutor. Help with special events at school.

Salvation Army

“Doing the Most Good” through a variety of services to those in need. Serve as a bell ringer and work in the Angel Tree warehouse during the Christmas season; various opportunities throughout the year.

Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) Florida

Gleaning America’s fields; feeding America’s hungry. Opportunities to glean fresh produce throughout the year. Gleaning is rooted in Old Testament scripture (see Leviticus 19:9-10). Great opportunity for families to serve together. Contact: Kelly Stainner

Sunrise Community of Polk County

“Dedicated to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Tuesday Tigers

The Tuesday Tigers were formed after the 2004 hurricane season left many in our community in need of home repairs. The group, primarily composed of retirees, still serves the Lakeland area. A specialty of the Tuesday Tigers is building and repairing wheelchair ramps for those who are unable to have it done otherwise. Their services are free; however, the Tigers will accept donations to the church to help offset the cost of their materials.

Please remember that the Tigers are volunteers and receive many requests. It may take up to six weeks for a work team to be assigned to a specific project.

Click here to inquire about assistance from the Tuesday Tigers.

Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE)

VISTE seeks “to enable frail, elderly persons to continue living independently and safely in their own home, through a variety of services” including food delivery.

Local Ministry Partners

Local ministries that are financially supported by our church.

Florida United Methodist Children’s Home (Enterprise and Madison campuses)

“Empowering children and families to experience the transforming love of Christ through holistic care.”

Talbot House

Comprehensive provider of services for homeless men and women. Contact: Erin Martinez

Lighthouse Ministries

“Set apart by the Spirit of God to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to meet the physical, emotional and other needs of the poor and at-risk population.” Contact: Jessica Cassista

Options for Women

Mission: “to serve pregnant, at-risk women by empowering them to make healthy, life-affirming choices regarding pregnancy and sexual health, thereby transforming their fear into confidence.”

Parker Street Ministries

“Committed to Gospel-centered community development beginning in Lakeland’s Parker Street neighborhood.

Red Bird Mission

Serving rural through ministry in five areas: Education, Health and Wellness, Community Outreach, Economic Opportunity, and Community Housing Improvement.

Senior Orphans of Polk County

Helping local seniors with no family support and monthly incomes less than $600.

Tri-County Human Services

Substance abuse, mental health, and co-occurring treatment to residents of Polk, Hardee, and Highlands Counties.

Contact Our Leader

Forrest White

Director of Missions Ministries