The food bus as we know it today was started in1998 by Gwen Scott who named the ministry “Lift Jesus Up Ministries”. Gwen's home church is North Presbyterian at E. 40 Th. St. and Superior Ave in Cleveland. She had a mission of going out to the people to feed and bring the word of God. She went to other churches and asked for help in spreading the ministry.
Soon there were a half dozen churches involved and about 75 people volunteering to go out four nights a week. Some of the neighborhoods became so dangerous that she had to pull back, and some of the volunteers moved or stopped going out. Mark Milia from our church started going out on Friday nights and brought the program to SUMC in 2003. He continued until he moved in 2007 and then Del and Jeanette Painting took over.
Previously the ministry got food from The Cleveland Food Bank and as such, could not have anything on the side of the bus of a religious nature. Two years ago Gwen gave us the bus, but kept the Lift Jesus Up Ministries name as she still has a neighborhood program. We put a plaque on the side of the bus with the church mission statement so the people we serve know the source of the food and clothing. We also made arrangements with Food Donation Connection of Knoxville, Tennessee to get food from Red Lobster, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut and Bob Evans. This eased the financial burden for the church and enabled us to feed more people. The ministry continues to grow and we look to add another night or day to serve more people.