Seven years ago, Flemingsburg Christian Church noted there was a serious need for feeding the hungry in the community. While public services were available for many families, the resources were often not adequate to cover their needs when the holidays approached. Gathering for the Thanksgiving dinner often meant more mouths to feed and the price of a Thanksgiving Turkey would be a huge hit to the budget, whether the family had access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or not. The church was also aware of many single-parent households or individuals who lived alone in the low-income areas of the county. They felt a great desire to feed these families an abundant meal like they would all enjoy for Thanksgiving.
When their Thanksgiving Dinner program first began, they provided a meal the Friday following Thanksgiving. Attendance at these gatherings was good but they always felt there were more who needed to be fed. After serving, they gathered to evaluate their efforts. One member spoke up saying, “I’m glad we’re feeding people a Thanksgiving meal, but I feel guilty about waiting until Friday to do this meal. It feels like we’re saying to them ‘I’m happy to feed you, but you have to wait until we’re finished with our meal.’” This resonated with them, so they made the decision to move their dinner to Thanksgiving Day.
Since that decision the church consistently cooks for and feeds, roughly, 300 people each year a full Thanksgiving meal: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, and a dessert. Some recipients come to the church to dine, others will come by and pick up packaged meals to take home to their families and then some of these meals are delivered to people’s homes, even those in the far reaches of the county. This kind of ministry combines the efforts of a large portion of the congregation and incorporates all age groups. Parents load up their kids and come by the church to pick up packaged meals and deliver them throughout the community. They want their kids to foster hearts for serving others, so they model this to them at this special event. The kids say they love delivering and seeing the grateful smiles on the faces of the people they encounter. Those who choose to eat dinner in the church fellowship hall are always greeted with hugs and personal interactions. The congregation makes the extra effort to engage with the people they serve in more ways than just a smile and a greeting, the common questions about people they know in common are usually the starting point for deeper conversations.
Flemingsburg Christian Church has become known as the church that not only feeds or helps people but as the friendly church that loves people. Recently, we launched a ‘Blessing Box’ ministry. During Vacation Bible School, the high school youth took on the project of building and painting the Blessing Box. They dedicated the box in worship on Youth Sunday (which is every 5th Sunday) and put it to work immediately. The Junior Youth Fellowship group collected funds and went on a shopping trip to purchase food for the box. They planned their purchases based on what types of food people might like and what kinds of food would pack the most nutritional value for a person’s needs. The box continues to be stocked by random church members and now, in addition to food, includes toiletries, paper goods, laundry detergent, household cleaning products, and the occasional gas card. This has become an outreach project of which the entire congregation is deeply proud.