• 54°

‘We’ve got to be that light:’ Church provides meals on Thanksgiving

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — The day is warm and bright when Rev. Jason Brown pulls up to East Spencer’s fire and police station. He hands off two Thanksgiving meals to Officer B. Seagraves and then walks up a damp sidewalk to the fire station. As he greets the on-duty firefighters, he stops to count.

“Do you need us to bring more meals?” he asks.

Brown and fellow church members Josh and Joe Parker brought three meals for the fire station, but there are five people there at work hosing down the bright red trucks. Brown agrees to swing by later with extra food, and the group pauses to pray — giving thanks for the food and asking for protection.

Brown serves as East Spencer’s town and fire chaplain, but he’s also the assistant minister at Providence Baptist Church in East Spencer, which has been providing free Thanksgiving meals to residents and those in need for more than eight years.

“At times when things seem hopeless, we’ve got to be that light. We’ve got to shine that light,” he said.

The Thanksgiving meal is something the church has been planning and preparing for since October, and Thursday it finally came to fruition. The church turned out with more than 30 volunteers, as well as volunteers from Salisbury and from Yadkin Baptist Church, to cook and serve nearly 250 meals, said meal coordinator Sam Adams.

Most of those meals, Adams said, are delivered by church members to those in need. The meal has become church tradition, but this year there are some new partnerships. It’s the first year the church has provided meals for fire and police, Adams said in an earlier interview. It’s also the first year the church has partnered with the town of East Spencer to find those who may be in need of a meal.

Brown and the Parkers also delivered nearly 40 meals to the Love Christian Center in East Spencer, an outreach program that has been running its own Thanksgiving Meal for about 15 years, church elder Edith Downs said. This year, Downs said the center estimates it will provide 150 free meals to those in need.

While most of Providence Baptist’s deliveries will be in Spencer, East Spencer and Salisbury, Adams said the church ventures into all corners of the county, going as far as Rockwell. This year, they even have a delivery in Lexington.

During lunchtime, Providence opens its doors to anyone — whether they don’t have a home, or don’t feel like cooking. Meals are often delivered to those who don’t have family or lack transportation. Delivery drivers have even been known to pull over when they see someone walking down the road to offer them a meal.

“It’s where it gets real,” Brown said of the ministry. “People are hurtin’, people need help.”

The church attracts a variety of people looking for a good meal, as well as a variety of volunteers. Marla Lowery, a church member, said she’s become known as the “turkey lady” to those she delivers meals to.

“You get more hugs than anything,” she said.

John and Judy Wilson don’t attend Providence, but started volunteering with the church four years ago to teach granddaughter, Brenna, about the importance of Thanksgiving.

“It teachers her about sharing and giving to others,” Judy said.

Brenna is now 10, and Judy said she looks forward to it every year.

For Josh Parker, it’s a way to give back — to his community, and in thanks for all he feels his faith has given him.

“You’ve got to stand out and do something for the community,” he said. “You’ve got to give back.”

Parker and son Joe have been helping deliver meals for about eight years. Parker’s wife, Mary, has been a lifetime member of the church, and parker said that Providence Baptist accepted him, and the local community has helped him prosper.

For Parker, “charity starts at home.”

“There’s so many people in our own backyard who need help…so you’ve got to reach out to everyone,” he said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs