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

West Edgecombe shares garden with neighbors

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

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


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 [email protected] or call the BSC at (800) 395-5102, ext.


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


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