“You all helped me when I had nothing – now I want to bless others as I have been blessed.” That was the comment of a man who dropped $150 at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee. The man moved to Jackson just before the COVID-19 crisis. With no job and no food, his prospects seemed bleak.
Every Wednesday since the crisis began, Englewood has operated a drive-through service, passing out bags of food and snacks to those in need. The man was able to pick up food – and hope – from the encouraging volunteers. When he found work, he donated a portion of his first paycheck to offer that same food and hope to others.
What goes around, comes around. When people and communities join together to take care of one another, that outpouring of love stimulates others to be involved. In Polk County, the far Southeast corner of the state, the Baptist Association’s slogan is, “We can do more together.”
Ryan Potts, Director of Missions for the Polk County Baptist Association is committed to coordinating the mission efforts of the churches in his county in order to have a bigger impact. When schools closed, the Association joined with local elected and business leaders to ensure that the children in this rural part of Appalachia were fed. The Association donated a large portion of their Disaster Relief Fund to help purchase food, and individuals from all over the county joined together to deliver it throughout the area. The school Board joined in using their busses for delivery, and children who were at-risk receive food Monday through Friday. To date, they have delivered thousands of pounds of food, and provided financial support to maintain the program. Other groups have collaborated to assure that bags of staples are delivered to help parents provide a continuous source of food for their families.
With summer fast approaching, and normal summer camp, and activity programs for children cancelled, there is a continued need to deliver food and supplies to those in need. When a call went out to Carroll County for drivers to deliver meals across the county, Stephanie Witt of New Beginnings Assembly of God was quick to volunteer herself and her church members to help. “We were helping before the crisis began, and we will be happy to help again,” she said.
Your county needs help too. Food banks and pantries across the state need volunteers. Delivering food is a low-contact service that provides life-saving nutrition to those in need. Contact us if you want to be involved.
Robin Popplewell of Englewood Baptist says it well, “When you see the families – when you see the kids’ eyes light up to see a box of cereal. . . People know that they are loved.”