Local churches banded together and paid it forward to the community as “The Gathering” in Veterans Park Saturday was held. The event boasted a large amount of ministries gathering together to provide food, school supplies and clothing for local families.
This was the second year of the event, which is a partnership between Marantha Ministries, Miracle Family Worship Center, New Century, New Covenant, L.I.P.S., Mohawk Inc., Fountain of Life and other area ministries who helped 600 families last year. Event Director Tracy Wood said it looked like they were on track to break that record this year.
“We want everybody to know this is not just one church, but a bunch of ministries and church bodies coming together in one accord to make this happen,” said Wood. “We want people to know we are all in agreement. I have had local businesses give unbelievable amounts this year. We’ve even had Papermate, 3M and Weaver Popcorn Company donate, and it benefits Surry County families.”
Wood said God had originally put the idea on her heart to give back to people in her community. She admitted she felt overwhelmed and alone at first but quickly found out as things fell into place that God makes a way when he tells someone to do something.
“When I started I was thinking of myself just as one human spirit and worried how will I make this happen,” recalled Wood. “I’m here to tell you, He (God) opens those doors. When he tells you to do something, you don’t have to do anything. He opened up heaven and it all poured out.”
She said many of the donations this year were new items, with one person laying items away so she could donate them. God’s Pit Crew donated a box of 20,000 pencils. Local stylists donated their time and talents to give free hair cuts, and many of the ministries not only provided food for families, they cooked food so families could enjoy fun and fellowship.
“I never dreamed we would have this kind of turnout,” said Wood. “This is after several similar events have been held in the area already. We are hoping to gather all of the different events together in one big event next year so it will be easier for families to just come to one weekend for everything.”
Wood said the groups chose Veterans Park so participants would think of it as a community event. She said they also wanted families to experience the love of Christ.
“Christ shared (His message of) love on the streets,” Wood said. “We are giving willingly and openly to everybody just has he did. We can give them the love of Christ as well and meet spiritual as well as physical needs.”
Sixteen-year-old Isidora Soto of Long Island, N.Y., traveled with her aunt Diana Berry of Apex to help. They also asked for donations in neighborhoods in their local area.
“She (Berry) loves to help anyone out that she can. We went around our neighborhood and were turned down by 10 homes before the next lady gave us what the 10 together didn’t. She was beyond generous. She had three children and told us God had given her faith he would help her if she would help others. It’s amazing what very simple words can do so they help with great reaction.”
Crystal Conner smiled as she watched Kay Murray of Green Front Beauty Salon cut the hair of he daughter Eden Conner.
“We’ve had a lot of stress with my health recently,” said Conner. “I was so worried about getting them what they needed for school. I even had to say no to a simple hair cut. They have gotten every school supply they needed here today. It’s wonderful.”
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.