Feeding 3,000 people is a mammoth task, but it’s a task Christy Sessoms, along with other community volunteers, is willing to take on in an effort to thank the dedicated men and women who serve this county in the time of an emergency or crisis.
Sessoms and 58 other volunteers are spearheading Helping Hands of Sampson County and will provide a meal and entertainment for all first responders of Sampson County and their families. Some of the volunteers met over the weekend to work on finalizing plans for the March 5 event.
While the food for the event will be prepared by Keith Naylor at the Oasis, Sessoms is enlisting the help of area churches to provide the dessert. Representatives from several area church came out to Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church Saturday.
According to Sessoms, the project is in need of 200 homemade cakes, 150 pies and 50 dozen brownies. In all, the meal is expected to cost between $40,000 and $45,000, and as of Saturday, has raised approximately $15,000, as more funds continue to come in.
“We want people to think of this as a thanksgiving,” Sessoms said. “Our hopes are that everyone who attends feels just how appreciated they are.”
Any donated cakes need to be delivered March 4 between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Sessoms said churches will be given badge numbers of those first responders in the county, and asked to pray over the badge number for an entire year, perhaps, she said, the greatest way of saying thanks.
“I’ve sent letters out asking for the badge numbers of the officers, the firefighters, the rescue workers, all of them, and we are going to give each church a person to pray for. It’s a coming together of people in a very special way,” Sessoms explained.
Between now and March 5, Sessoms is asking the community to continue praying for all aspects of the event.
“We need to have a prayer walk through the building,” Sessoms said. “We want to make sure God is in that building.”
This massive undertaking is also involving the help of area schools, businesses and organizations. Children from the city and county schools, as well as Harrells and Mintz Christian academies, are making placemats for the tables, using their hand prints as the focal point, another way to emphasize the Helping Hands of Sampson theme.
Sessoms said a note went home with every child who attends a school in Sampson County, both explaining the project and seeking contributions to the endeavor. Six sponsorship levels are available and all contributions are tax deductible.
A slide show will be playing throughout the dinner with pictures and business cards of those who financially supported the event. If anyone would like to include a picture or business card in the slide show, submit the information when making the donation.
“As a community, we are blessed with dedicated first responders who offer protection and assistance in a time of emergency or crisis,” Sessoms said. For that reason, this project plans to give back to those men and women.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.