"We plan this, year after year," said pastor Daniel Pugh. "And even though we plan it, it's still a miracle. It still feeds 5,000 people. And that's reenacting the miracle of feeding the 5,000 in the gospels."
That's a reference to the Gospel of Matthew, and its lesson about Jesus using two fish and five loaves of bread to feed thousands of the faithful. The opportunity to assist those affected by food insecurity motivated many people in Pugh's congregation.
"This is the most people we've had in worship since we reopened, back in April," he said. "So we're seeing that as a sign that people are really fired up about this, People have had this date marked off on their calendar!"
They helped the Dorcas Ministries food pantry, represented by development director Rose Cornelious.
"Millions across North Carolina face food insecurity. About 1 in every 4, and we see this at Dorcas Ministries. Last year we served about 34,000 of our neighbors," she said.
On this day, after gathering at the Publix, "The church provides each family with $10. Usually the family takes the $10, gives it back to Dorcas and goes in with their credit card, and buys groceries from a list of needed items in our food pantry," said Cornelious. "So it's a chance for families to participate in active ministry. I think the children are more excited than the parents are, in giving!"
Pastor Pugh said, "Helping people solve hunger is just the first step for us to fight for other needs that people have, like affordable housing. Like talking to our state and local officials about making sure that things are fair and equitable as much as we can."
They hope others who see what their church does for struggling families will also step up and make a difference.