Do you have a small group that is interested in hosting a packing event, but you have no idea how to come up with enough volunteers to pack 50,000 meals? Chip Cross, from Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church, tells how his small congregation partnered with local groups in his community of Marion, North Carolina to pack more than 100,000 meals on a Saturday in September.

In July 2017, three churches in McDowell County attended Camp Caswell near Oak Island, NC. Pleasant Gardens Baptist sent 26 people, Glenwood Baptist 46, and Grace Community Church 103. At Camp Caswell, we had an opportunity to pack food for those in need in Haiti. Following the report of our trip, our church committed to pack 100,000 meals with Servants With a Heart. The cost of the meals was allocated from our church mission fund. Almost two years ago the Lord worked in the hearts of some anonymous donors to make a huge donation to missions; the funds for these meals were provided from the earnings from the mission fund principal and this project would not have been possible at this time without this generous donation and its subsequent management with a heart for missions.

On Saturday, September 30 we packed over 106,000 meals to be sent to Nicaragua. Initially the recruitment of volunteers was behind schedule but God provided in a big way! Twenty-five groups in our community participated and we filled over 550 volunteer time slots. Some of the groups that were represented include Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church, Glenwood Baptist Church, Grace Community Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Grace Baptist Church, Nebo Crossing Church, Liberty Freewill Baptist Church, Freedom Life Ministries, Marion Rotary Club, South Mountain Children’s Home, Melinda Zullo Girl Scout Troop, Diane Wright Girl Scout Troop, Old Fort Boy Scout Troop, McDowell Senior Center, East McDowell Middle School, McDowell Alternative Learning Center, McDowell Technical Community College students and staff, North Cove Elementary School, Pleasant Gardens Elementary School, McDowell High School ROTC, McDowell High School Peer Group Connection, McDowell High School Friends of Rachel, McDowell High School students and staff, McDowell Women’s Shelter, Community Volunteers. I know some were probably left out; please forgive me.

It was a true community effort! Thanks again to everyone who participated! Please pray for this food as it goes out and for those who will be receiving it; that it will nourish their bodies and also their souls knowing that it came from the Lord through His people.

Chip Cross, Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church