Church members and volunteers at Springfield Baptist Church are demonstrating their belief that it is better to give than to receive this holiday season.
The church, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Eric Wendell Lee Sr., has had volunteers and its members come together to package more than 100,000 pounds of food for families in the area during its "G.R.O.W.T.H. through the Holidays," food distribution drive.
Registration to receive food began Dec. 16. The last day for distribution is Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
Minster Brian Russell, cabinet leader for Service Ministries of SBC, said the church purchased pallets of food in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and bags of groceries were created for individual families. He said the church was also able to purchase 8- to-10-pound turkeys to distribute to families.
"This is G.R.O.W.T.H. through the Holidays. The ‘G’ stands for growing in God’s Word; the ‘R’ is reconnecting generations; the ‘O’ is Operating in our spiritual gifts; the ‘T’ is tithing through love and obedience to God; and the ‘H’ is Helping to win our community," Russell explained.
So far, he said, food has been distributed to about 350 families.
"We have a wristband system. … Some of our local businesses lend us their buggies, and they (volunteers) go out and they (those receiving food) never really even have to get out of their car. They have a wristband; they get service," Russell said. "We gave out wristbands on Monday, and the last ones we gave out were on Tuesday."
Russell said the food drive was open to the community. He said the church reached out through an email blast, flyers, networking with community agencies such as Newton County Partnership and Rockdale Emergency Relief Partners, and by word-of-mouth.
"So many people are struggling, and we live in a time and age where you really don’t know what people are going through, so you just need to ‘be ye so ever ready’," Russell said.
"The Word tells us to ‘be ye so ever ready’ that we may be able to share with our present age. We find it to be just that, our responsibility to be our brother’s keeper, to be able to help those who may be going through a trying time."
Russell said SBC conducts food distribution drives several times a year, usually around the Christmas season, at Easter and right before students begin the school year. However, this year’s "G.R.O.W.T.H through the Holidays," drive was especially significant in that the church also has had an official loan-closing on its facility on Iris Drive in Conyers.
Springfield Baptist entered into an agreement with mortgage holder Evangelical Christian Credit Union to purchase the Iris Drive property in early 2012. The 43-acre property, previously the home of former mega-church Church in the Now, went into foreclosure in March 2011.
"This building is officially ours, and it is a blessing to be able to receive and give at the same time," Russell said.
"It’s just a blessing to be able to bless others during this season and throughout the year."