Sharpening minds by nourishing bodies and encouraging spirits

In January of 2010, members of Asbury's congregation noticed that waiting for a school bus had become an unpleasant experience. Winters in Saint Louis can be bitterly cold, and children are sometimes required to travel considerable distances by bus to receive their educations. They are sent to school well before sunup, in the coldest part of the day. Families sometimes cannot afford to provide appropriate nourishment and clothing for their children. 

To address these needs, Asbury created its WARM START program. The program was designed to provide neighborhood children with a temporary respite from the cold and nourishment for their bodies, minds, and spirits as they started their day.

From 5:45 - 8:30 am each schoolday, volunteers from the church and the surrounding community give the kids granola bars and fruit juices on which to snack while waiting for the bus or walking to school. On cold mornings, children may opt for hot chocolate, and they may come inside to stay warm. Winter outer garments may also be distributed as needs arise.

Our volunteers have established wonderful relationships with the participants and are often able to offer them words of encouragement and counsel as they enjoy their snacks and warm their bodies. For some, these few moments may be the brightest part of an otherwise harsh childhood.


The popularity of the WARM START program has allowed expanding it into one that now serves children year-round. Each day, volunteers distribute 40 to 50 snacks. Since the program's inception, over 9,000 servings have been distributed.
Many of the WARM START volunteers have completed sexual and physical abuse awareness training and have successfully passed background investigations conducted by the State of Missouri. These volunteers are Safe Sanctuary certified through the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. They are approved to work with youth and vulnerable adults.
We invite you to join with us as we continue to provide this vital service to the children of our community. You may make donations specially earmarked for WARM START support using the PayPal button below. For more information on how you can help, please VISIT OUR " CONTACT " page. We will appreciate your support as we seek to "sharpen minds by nourishing bodies and encouraging spirits."