ELIZABETHTOWN — Come hungry, be fed. That’s the mantra of Bladen County’s most recent new ministry, and its organizers are hoping to expand more than just waistlines.
About a month ago, Jerry Hood and The Love of Christ Ministries, hoping to replicate an outreach Hood began in Fayetteville that sees approximately 200 people being fed daily, began a soup kitchen in Bladen County. The mission was undertaken with — and located at — Second Chance Community Church in Elizabethtown.
According to volunteers, things couldn’t be going any better.
“We have about 50 to 75 people coming each time,” said Connie Holland, wife of Second Chance Community Church Pastor Dwight Holland and volunteer at the soup kitchen. “We’re really grateful for how God is using this ministry.”
Holland said key to the whole operation is the fact that they have volunteers whose sole purpose doesn’t even involve food.
“There are a lot of hurting people,” she said, “and they just want someone to listen. We have people whose job is not cleaning tables, not serving food, not emptying trash, but just sitting there and listening to people.”
The church is a member of the Bladen Baptist Association, and associational missionary David Foster sees benefits beyond just the physical ones for the people coming to be fed.
“The good thing is they’re finding not only fellowship and a meal, but a place to serve,” he commented. “One of the really neat things that has come of this is a gentleman who comes in there for a meal ended up coming forward and asking what he could to do help.”
Right now, the ministry takes place twice a week, but Hood and the rest of the team are hoping other churches or groups will get on board with the idea and feed the needy the other five days of the week. Ideally, however, the ministry would take place where the hungry people are, not where the groups are.
“I would really like to see churches do it at Second Chance,” Foster offered. “It’s not about your church or my church, but about coming together as the body of Christ to meet a need.”
Foster added that most people who come to be fed do so by walking, not driving, so being where they are is critical.
The Love of Christ Ministries began the service last month in response to I John 3:16-18.
“(These verses) ask us if we see someone in need, and don’t try to meet that need, where’s the love of God in us?” Hood challenged. “If we have the world’s goods and try to keep them to ourselves, where’s the love of Christ in us? I’ve been in church all my life, and people talk about doing a lot of things, but these verses say don’t just talk about it — be about it.”
The feeding ministry takes place at Second Chance Community Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The church is located in the post office shopping center in Elizabethtown.
To volunteer a church or group to feed the hungry one or more days a week, contact Hood at 910-850-2460.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.