Members of the Western Union Missionary Baptist Association Upper Sampson Union have been feeding the community for nearly a decade.
Today, that tradition will continue, as the annual Feed the Community Day will be held from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 900 College St., Clinton. The event, organized by Pam Spates, has helped provide hundreds of meals for the last 10 years.
“This is a chance for the churches to come together and feed those in the community before Thanksgiving,” Spates said.
Along with the WUMBA and First Baptist Church, Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church and First Baptist Church, 408 College St., are assisting with the feed by providing bread and desserts.
“Our mission is to feed the community as one of our yearly outreach projects,” Spates explained.
While many Americans think hunger is isolated to small segments of people who live in rural communities, Spates says the reality is that some Sampson County residents are faced with the issue everyday. The purpose of the feeding is to provide a hot meal to those who may not have the means to have a Thanksgiving dinner at home or with family and friends.
Eventually, Spates added, the organization would like to offer the mass feeding on Thanksgiving Day. For now, they are happy they can be a blessing to those who are less fortunate and may not otherwise get a hot meal.
Churches who are a part of the Upper Sampson Missionary Union and Western Union Mission Baptist Association donate money that is used to purchase the majority of the food items. Other items are donated by Graves and both First Baptist churches.
During Wednesday’s event, Spates said turkey, dressing, rice and gravy, yams, string beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert will be prepared for those who come. In years past, Spates said over 500 people have been blessed with a warm meal. Today, they are prepared to serve another 500.
“We usually feed over 500 people, including those plates we send away,” Spates said.
Any food that remains after the 2 p.m. serving time, Spates said plates are made for anyone who may need and extra meal to take with them. If there is food leftover after to-go plates are given out, the food is donated to local shelters. To-go meals are not given out before 2 p.m.
A couple of years ago, Spates said one gentleman asked if he could take a plate for later and a plate for the next day. By taking the additional plate, he said he could put it under his bed and save his place where he was staying.
Assuming the gentleman meant a shelter, Spates said when those residents leave their beds, they often lose the spot for the following night.
“Some ask to take a plate home for the next day,” Spates shared. “It’s sad to think that there are people who don’t get fed on a regular basis.”
While the meals are for everyone, Spates said the churches would like those who are homeless and less fortunate to get a warm meal to eat.
“We try to think about those who won’t have food for Thanksgiving,” Spates said. “We want everyone to come together and be thankful together.”
The annual event is truly a community-event. Throughout the years, since the churches began feeding the community, Spates said she has seen people from all walks of life come in, and with the goal of serving God through serving others, the meals are for anyone who needs a hot meal.
“By serving others, we are serving God,” Spates said. “We want to share a meal with someone who otherwise may not get a meal.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.