Pastor Darron LaMonte Edwards, Sr., Lead Pastor at United Believers Community Church, received the 2021 Faith Impact Award for not only his church’s extensive involvement at Ingels Elementary but also throughout the Hickman Mills School District. “During the COVID-19 pandemic Pastor Edwards and his congregation have gone above and beyond to support families in the Hickman Mills School District,” said Belinda Ritter, Family School Liaison and CFK Liaison.

Ms. Ritter noted that Pastor Edwards has supported Ingels Elementary for many years with monetary donations, field trip opportunities, and assemblies. This past year, United Believers sponsored a Learning Safe Space for Ingels Elementary students and other students in the Hickman Mills School District due to COVID-19 school closures, allowing parents who are working or needing childcare to have a place to bring their children.

“United Believers upgraded their internet system to support student Virtual Learning and ensure each student that attends remains engaged in learning while schools were closed,” said Ms. Ritter. The church provided breakfast, lunch, dinner, and food for the children to take home as schools remained closed. Weekly gift bag incentives also were provided to keep students engaged.

“Partnering with a school has unleashed extreme generosity throughout our entire congregation,” said Pastor Edwards. At Thanksgiving, United Believers helped give meals to 468 families in the community, including 38 Ingels families. United Believers collected the turkeys and partnered with Truman Medical Center to provide all the trimmings. The church partnered with the KC Chiefs to provide the meal sacks. Other CFK partners supported Ingels families during the holiday as well.

Pastor Edwards explained the importance of churches supporting local schools: “If we really want to have safe cities in every zip code, then every faith leader, pastor, congregation needs to connect with CFK. All you need to do is start where you are, use what you have, and do all you can do.”