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Mississippi Baptists respond with aid, the Gospel

(Left to right) Ivie Savell, Eli Sharp, Evan Sharp, Eric Sharp and Chloe Savell prepare to hand out food and water at New Bethel Baptist Church.

Baptist churches around Neshoba County, Miss., pitched in to make sure people who were without power in last week’s winter storms got warm meals.

Members of the Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief cooking team brought in approximately 10 volunteers from south Mississippi who helped prepare and serve 1,800 hot meals over three days to county residents impacted by the winter storms.

More than 70 percent of the county lost power as temperatures plunged to near single digits in the winter weather that moved in Sunday, Feb. 14.

David Addy, director of the Neshoba Baptist Association, which organized the relief effort, said the meals were distributed free to people Saturday through Monday regardless of denomination, race or creed at nine Southern Baptist churches strategically located to cover the whole county.

Addy said the different meals, consisting of chili, ravioli, chicken and dumplings with green peas, green beans and a fruit, were mostly distributed to people as they drove up in their cars.

A few churches, such as New Bethel Baptist Church near Laurel Hill, still had electricity and allowed people to come inside for a sit-down meal and to use the church as a warming station.

“We didn’t run in to any problems,” Addy said. “It all worked pretty well.”

In addition to the 10 volunteers from out of the area, numerous local volunteers helped as well, Addy said.

The team at the Baptist Center was able to have more than 60 direct ministry contacts and 30 opportunities to pray with those in the drive-through feeding line, officials said.

“Most important of all was that one of our DR Chaplains was able to share with and pray with two individuals who accepted Christ as their Savior! Praise the Lord!” the relief ministry posted on its Facebook page about the Neshoba County relief efforts.

Eric Sharp, youth minister and associate pastor at New Bethel, led the church’s feeding team Sunday and said it was “wonderful to see our young people eager to serve those that were in need.”

The people who came and picked up take-out plates “were so thankful for a hot meal,” he said.

As many as 8,700 of Neshoba’s 11,000 electric customers were without power at the height of last week’s winter storm.

Addy said three of the participating churches backed out of Monday’s meal saying they no longer had a need.

“By tomorrow, most of the power will be restored,” Addy said Wednesday (Feb. 24).

This article was originally published in the Neshoba Democrat. Used by permission.

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  • Scott Hawkins/Neshoba Democrat