West Edgecombe shares garden with neighbors
    July 29 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    Okra. Tomatoes. Watermelon. Cucumbers. Corn. Potatoes.

    At the sight, smell and taste of fresh vegetables and fruits, mouths start watering. And West Edgecombe Baptist Church in Rocky Mount has found a way to fill stomachs as well as hearts in their surrounding community — with a garden.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    John Hollowell helped start West Edgecombe Baptist Church's community garden. They plant a variety of crops and give the produce to their neighbors. See video.

    “The biggest thing about the garden is we are getting outside the walls of the church,” said John Hollowell.

    The ministry started last year with an acre of land adjacent to the church. Formerly rented out to a soybean farmer, the owner and church member learned about the need and donated the land for use as a community garden.

    Hollowell learned about funding that might be available through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). John Hamm, associational missionary for North Roanoke Baptist Association, shared the information with local leaders, and Hollowell’s brain started churning.

    He applied for funds to help offset the costs of the church’s food closet and to apply a portion to field a garden. Ace Hardware chipped in for the new ministry as well.

    This year, they have added another half acre to the garden and are reaching more people than ever.

    “It’s been a good mission that everyone can get involved in that wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity,” he said.

    The church has built a storage barn to house supplies and run electricity to enable longer ministry hours. They also have running water so volunteers can clean produce and themselves after surviving the summer sun.

    The busiest part of the community garden comes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons from 4 p.m. until sundown. That’s when the bounty of the fields is placed on tables for people to come and get.

    The most common response: “What? This is free?!?”

    “I’ve had that reaction a lot,” Hollowell said.

    This year has been harder because of the dry weather, but the ministry continues to be a blessing.

    Some of the ladies who regularly walk in the church’s family life center have alternated their workout to the fields in order to minister to their neighbors and shut-ins from the church.

    Local gardeners and other churches have gotten involved as well.  

    Other ways of reaching out

    The garden is great for reaching the community but Hollowell said the church has other ideas about reaching its community.

    On Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. the church plans a community block party with an outdoor concert by FFH at 7 p.m. From the food to the entertainment, everything is free. There will be lots of activities for the children including pony rides, face painting and jump houses.

    Schools in the area are switching to uniforms, and Hollowell hopes part of the clothing giveaway that day will help fill that need for local families.  

    Hunger funds in N.C.
    When N.C. Baptists give to the World Hunger Offering through the BSC, 60 percent goes to the World Hunger and Relief Fund of the International Mission Board (IMB), 15 percent to the Domestic Hunger Fund of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), 20 percent to the North Carolina Hunger Fund and five percent to the North Carolina Disaster/Food Fund.

    To order free resources — posters, bulletin inserts and offering envelopes — to help promote World Hunger Sunday, write kbissette@ncbaptist.org or call the BSC at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5618.

    Save the date
    World Hunger Sunday is October 10.

    Please plan to share information about world hunger with your congregation. Free resources are available through the Baptist State Convention, the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. 

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    7/29/2010 4:28:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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