Spirit of Giving
An old African proverb reads, “Giving leaves an imprint that endures forever.” This proverb contributed to the Baton Rouge Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church’s recent community outreach projects. Keeping with the church members’ continued commitment to impacting the community surrounding the church, young and old alike embarked upon not one, but two “foot to the street, finger on the doorbell, meet your neighbor” ventures.
The first outreach consisted of head usher Ivy Jones’ homemade vegetable soup which she packaged and sealed in 48 pint-sized canning jars with decorated lids. Our community services team of Lyn Hakeem and Doris Collins sorted and bagged fresh fruit. Clerk Paula Adams rounded out the preparation team by creating colorful “Friends and Family Weekend” invitations along with an array of denominational literature.
Following a worship service, with a “pep in the step” of some of our more comfortable shoes, we teamed up and began our “Soup and Fruit” mission.
Our church community was most receptive, to the extent that one neighbor insisted on making a $20 donation despite our insistence to the contrary. According to him, the donation was his way of blessing us. We are grateful for his blessing.
Our second outreach was the annual Thanksgiving food basket distribution. For this ministry, Hakeem tapped Collins, who regarded it as an opportunity to witness to Big Buddy, a mentoring program for Baton Rouge’s “economically, educationally, or emotionally disadvantaged” youth population.
“After all, some years ago, I worked with this program and my familiarity with the good it does convinced me that it merited some of our food baskets,” Collins says. He contacted Big Buddy’s director, Gaylynne Mack, who directed her youth events specialist Monica Brown to give Collins a list of Big Buddy family recipients for the distribution. With her shopping list of fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils, various grains, and other staples, Collins and Raven, her 12-year-old great-niece, went shopping. In the church’s annex, the two were joined by others who sorted and packed 10 baskets for the Big Buddy program and 10 for the surrounding community. Again, the church members felt humbly blessed to be available to those in need. We thank God for the spirit of ministry.
By Evelyn M. Edwards