Pastor: ‘There are a lot of hungry people’

East Rockingham UMC, churches and volunteers line up to help feed less fortunate

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

EAST ROCKINGHAM — Leave it to Pastor Pat Sykes and others at East Rockingham United Methodist Church to see the silver lining in the cloud that appeared earlier this week in the form of frozen — then busted — pipes.

Photo by Hailey Walters

Photo by Hailey Walters

Water was everywhere. But the damage, they said, could have been much, much worse. As it is, the late Wednesday morning mishap didn’t do much to slow the work to feed more than 500 people around Richmond County on Saturday from the church kitchen, located inside the fellowship hall at Biltmore Drive and Mill Road in East Rockingham.

In 2011, Marlene and Boyce Carpenter started an effort that fed about 75 people. That number has grown by more than 600 percent in the past four years. With 30 minutes to go before the clock struck 2 p.m. to mark the end of the 2014 program, volunteer food servers and event coordinators hit 500 — as in the number served Saturday.

The Carpenters, Sykes and Marsha Bruton assured anyone who would listen that it took a large group from a number of churches — including Mount Olive Baptist Church, First Methodist in Hamlet, First United Methodist in Rockingham and Church of God of Prophecy among them — to make it happen. More than half the meals served up Saturday were delivered to senior centers, shut-ins and the Place of Grace ministry on Airport Road.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Counselors at East Rockingham Elementary School and Rohanen Middle School helped identify students they felt could use some assistance in the form of a good meal. Sykes said the growth of the need proves that “there are a lot of hungry people.”

Volunteers indicated next year they plan to serve double the number this year.

“It’s been a great day,” Bruton said.

But it all started a bit on the soggy side when preparations began in earnest on Wednesday. Bruton said she normally arrives in the afternoon the Wednesday before the Saturday meal to begin preparing the meal. This time, she said she arrived at about 11:30 a.m. It was a good thing she did. Shortly after she arrived, while she was in the dining room of the fellowship hall, the ceiling burst open in the kitchen and bathroom.

Water was everywhere.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

“It was a disaster,” Sykes said.

Sykes chalked it up as a normal God vs. Devil rivalry. From Wednesday to Saturday, at least, God won.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Religion, Rockingham

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