MIDWAY COMMUNITY — A group of churches in northern Sampson gathers membership dues, partners with local dealerships and reaches out to the public every year in order to offer some free food and fun to the community. The annual occurrence is coming to fruition again next week.
The 9th annual Midway Area Churches (MAC) Association’s Community Fun Day will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6, on the grounds of Midway High School, located at 15274 Spivey’s Corner Highway (U.S. 421), Dunn.
The event will include free prizes and food — grocery giveaways are hugely popular — as well as live music, inflatable rides and inspiring messages. For the fourth year, the fun day will include a popular car show. The festivities were held at the nearby elementary school grounds last year, but it outgrew the location.
“We filled that up, so now we’re going over to the high school,” said MAC vice president Pastor Floyd Ray. “It’s growing and we’re meeting the need. The main thing is to bring the churches together to the community and give back to the community. It’s a non-denominational event. We’re not here to recruit people back to each other’s church. We’re there just to fellowship with the community and bring people together.”
He said some children do not have the opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach or to the State Fair every year.
“Maybe we can bring something to them,” Ray said, “to let them know we care about the community.”
He urged everyone to come participate in the fun, which will also include a giveaway of 500 bags of groceries, up from the 300 given out last year. MAC Association’s Community Fun Day has grown considerably since its inception and has annually hosted between 2,000 and 3,000 people in recent years. Ray hopes for at least that many this year for the growing event.
“We’re getting calls from everywhere,” said Ray. “If the weather is good, I believe it’s going to be one of the biggest ones we’ve ever had.”
The MAC Association includes close to 60 different churches in the Midway and surrounding area, of which about half participate in the annual Community Fun Day event. Each church donates $200 as well as other goodies on the day of the event in order for everything to be offered free. Along with hundreds of bags of groceries, Ray said food will be available along with cotton candy, cakes, cookies and other treats.
“Each church donates a fee each year and we use that to prepare for the occasion,” said Ray, who pastors Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on N.C. 55. “The association is all denominations, creeds and colors and the goal of this event is to come together and reach the world and the children.”
Last year, there were four dealerships that sponsored the show. This year, there are three dealerships, including Bleecker Chevy/Dodge, Dorman Cadillac/GMC and Deacon Jones Buick/Toyota. Ray said the goal is to have dealers who can represent different brands at the show. Along with those businesses, H&H Truck out of Hope Mills and the Godwin Group out of Dunn will also bring in their trucks.
“We are also looking at another group that might bring some lowriders out this year,” Ray noted.
Ray anticipates 100 entrants this year at the car show, again with the anticipation that “it’s going to be one of the biggest ones we’ve had,” he attested.
Ray knows people will come out for the groceries and the free food, which is coordinated through Mt. Carmel PFWB Church on Benson Highway, Dunn, pastored by MAC president Johnny Peterson. The free groceries have brought people out early on that Saturday for years now, with a line forming several hours before the gates open.
“It’s first-come, first-served. They’ll be in line at 7 a.m. waiting to get the groceries,” Ray said with a laugh.
The free theme extends through the entire event. It’s about giving to others, not receiving, he said.
“There is no money involved in the event, other than the cost to register cars,” Ray said. After all overhead is paid, the hope is to also give small donations to some organizations locally, including the Tarheel ChalleNGe and Sampson County Sheriff’s Office. “We don’t get any money out of it.”
Additionally, the Midway Area Churches Association, in conjunction with Bleecker, gave three $750 scholarships to MAC-involved students last year and plans to do the same this year. The annual Fun Day is the biggest event each year for the MAC Association.
“We just pray for good weather,” said Ray. “We encourage the pastors to urge their churches to attend and, if the weather cooperates, I believe we will be set to go.”
Cost for registration in the car show is $20. Trophies will be given for best in show and according to the make of vehicles, as well as other categories. For more information, call Pastor Floyd Ray at 910-890-6285 or MAC secretary Kelvin Blackman at 910-973-5171.
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