Much like Jesus Christ’s miracle some 2,000 years ago when he fed the hungry near the Sea of Galilee, volunteers with the King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church approached the multitudes of Lowndes County with tidings of hot meals, clothing, toys and spiritual bread Saturday.
This is the 14th year King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church has hosted the Feed the Needy event.
When they first started the program, about 50 people were fed. Last year, the Feed the Needy event provided meals to 6,000 people, with 4,000 in Lowndes County alone.
“We’re all here to work together so that no child wakes up Christmas morning without a toy and no man goes hungry,” said event coordinator Ethel Martin. “God has enough food and enough toys to provide to everybody; we just have to come together as a group of people, love each other and be willing to do what he asks us to
Just as Christ used a meager assortment of fish and bread to feed many, the program has also broadened over the years as a result of the hard work from volunteers, help from other organizations like the Second Harvest of South Georgia and the power of prayer.
Even though the people Christ fed were hungry, they also received his lessons of peace. King Soloman volunteers follow this example and enter the homes with prayer and a message of salvation.
Pastor J.D. Martin inspired prayer groups before they left out to deliver packages. They were faced with an honest talk.
“We’re in the soul-earning business,” said Martin. “We’re not like the second world; I just don’t give stuff away. This program doesn’t give stuff away.”
He asked those who weren’t interested in prayer to leave and that he wouldn’t be offended.
“God expects us to be good stewards,” said Martin. “If they can’t pray, they have no business getting this food. They don’t need it. It’s up to us to minister to those people long after this program is over.”
According to his wife, Ethel Martin, deliveries are sent to families who pre-registered and are evaluated by Pastor Martin.
“We pray in every home we deliver to,” said Ethel Martin. “If you can’t thank God for what’s provided to you, you don’t need his services.”
None of this would have been possible without the volunteers. While many people spend Christmas Eve doing some last-minute shopping and wrapping or relaxing with family members, the 350 volunteers Saturday morning worked full-speed to make sure families could receive a heart-felt Christmas blessing.
Some volunteers like Bill Moore showed up at midnight to start cooking the chicken. Other volunteers loaded piping hot vegetables onto styrofoam plates to be sent out across the county. Some people, like Calissia Singleton, filled toy orders for children of all ages and genders.
Allan Barr has been helping out for several years and brought a warming trailer, a portable oven capable of cooking hundreds of food products. He was ready at 4 a.m. to cook more than 100 pans with corn and green beans in the trailer.
“There’s just a lot of people in this community that don’t have a good nourishing meal,” explained Barr. “Then of course, it’s Christmastime and with the economy how it is, a lot of folks don’t have the means to give their kids toys. So we’re meeting physical needs with toys, clothes and food and then meeting a spiritual need by sharing Christ with the families.”