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.
“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
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,”
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.
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
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
To order free resources —
posters, bulletin inserts and offering envelopes — to help promote World Hunger
Sunday, write [email protected] or call the BSC at (800) 395-5102, ext.
Save the date
World Hunger Sunday is
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