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Epworth Children and Family Services

Epworth children and familiy services

A world in which every youth experiences life in all its fullness.

Epworth is a United Methodist-related community nonprofit with the mission of helping children, youth and families move toward self-sufficiency by focusing on health, housing, education and employment. Nearly 13,000 individuals turn to Epworth each year for emergency shelter, residential and intensive treatment, family reunification therapy, transition to independent living programs, foster family care, prevention services and 24-hour help.

Learn more about their mission at their main website.

How to Serve

Have a heart for youth? Like to cook? Enjoy giving parties and providing good fellowship? Volunteers are needed for hosting parties, making meals, and providing a caring presence at both the residential facility on the Webster Groves campus and the Drop-in Center in Normandy.

To qualify, you need only to enjoy working with youth and be 21 years or older. Safe Gatherings training recommended. Participants needed for daytime and evening events. 



Lunch Outreach at Drop-In Center (Daytime)

Rotating teams of volunteers prepare and serve lunches for youth who have no secure housing. Preparation and serving occurs at Epworth Children and Family Services Drop-in Center in Normandy. Dates are typically the second Friday and fourth Wednesday of every month. Carpooling is available.

Not able to volunteer but interested in providing a meal for the Epworth youth?

This can be as easy as ordering pizza and having it delivered or Drop-In Center staff picking food up from a local restaurant. Please email ministry leader, Barb Zenser.

Do you like to help plan parties?

Season Parties at both locations (EVENINGS)

Manchester UMC’s Epworth Ministry hosts seasonal parties, i.e., Back-to-School barbecues, Holiday parties, Graduation party, etc., for youth residing at the Epworth Children & Family Ministry dorms and emergency shelter.  Rotating teams of volunteers plan and direct parties for the youth residing at the Webster Groves Campus and also for the youth transitioning out of foster care at the Drop-in Center in Normandy
Join this team by completing the form below.   If questions, please email the Epworth ministry leader, Barb Zenser.

Please complete one form per Person:

Unpublished form


Most Needed donations

Epworth Children and Family Services are requesting the following items for the youth 11-18 who reside at the residential treatment center at Epworth’s Webster Campus.   

Supplies needed:

  • Bath Towels
  • Deodorant (travel or regular) sizes
  • Basketball shorts:  Small – 3XL (Men & Ladies)
  • Underwear:  5 – 10 (Ladies)
  • Boxer Briefs:  Small – 3XL (Men’s)

Supplies can be dropped off at the Epworth Donation bin outside of the MUMC church office.

Additional items are needed.  Click Here to download the complete list of items.


Form more information on Epworth Children & Family Services, contact the ministry leader, Barb Zenser.

Did You Know?

Manchester UMC’s  2023 Christmas Mission special “above and beyond” donations funded these meals and experiences for Epworth’s youth?   We are hoping to be able to do the same in 2024!

Here is a summary of how Manchester UMC volunteers put those monies to work in 2023.    

  1. Manchester UMC volunteers have prepared meals that served 40 Street Out Reach youth on 28 days this year. (That’s 1,120 servings!)
  2. Manchester UMC volunteers prepared meals, gifts and games at the Drop-in Center (Back to School event, Graduation celebrations and Christmas party) for the youth transitioning out of foster care. There are approximately 30 – 40 youth who attend these events.
  3. Manchester UMC volunteers planned and provided games, crafts and treats for the 40-youth residing at the Epworth Residential Center and the Youth Emergency Shelter at Easter, Halloween and Christmas. (Yes, they have transported everything from jelly beans to pumpkins to the dorms!)
  4. Manchester UMC volunteers purchased birthday presents for 23 youth who are living in the Epworth dorms. (Many of these youth have no interactions with their families and therefore, don’t otherwise get gifts on their birthdays.)
  5. Manchester UMC volunteers have provided treats and activities for the LGBTQ youth attending the Drop-In Center. (Up to 40% of youth identifying as LGBTQ may be on the street. They need a safe, caring place to gather.)

Thank you for your gifts of time, energy, prayers and funds.


Pastor's Note

Ascension Sunday

Dear Friends at Manchester UMC,      Unfortunately, the surrounding culture has taken some of Christianity’s best stuff. This reality is mostly for commercial gain. We don’t have to go too far into a Walgreens around Eastertime to discover a whole aisle devoted to Easter candy and stuffed bunnies. Christmas is even

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