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First Baptist Church working with Second Harvest on food distributions

By Richard Rourk

Another local church has joined with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee to provide food for those in need.

Along with First Christian Church and Erwin Presbybeterian Church, First Baptist Church has begun disturbing food to those in need every first Monday of the month from 9 a.m. until noon. 

“We are working with Second Harvest, but we also get donated food from the congregations at First Christian and Erwin Presbyterian,” said First Baptist Church Pastor Koby Strawser. “We have also had our congregation bring a specific item each week; one week it may be peanut butter, the next week jelly.”

On Monday, May 1, First Baptist Church distributed more than two dozen boxes of food supplies to those in need. 

“We had 26 come through so far,” said First Baptist Church Food Pantry Organizer Terry Olson. “Times are hard right now, and we want to help all the people we can.”

First Baptist Church Senior Member Paul Farnor noticed that not only was the need for food growing in the region but the need for church has been growing. 

“Despite restrictions we have seen a growth to our attendance,” Farnor said. “We have a great pastor and a great congregation that cares about the community.”

According to Olson, COVID-19 has caused the organization to alter their distribution plans. 

“We are a work in process,” Olson said. “We started a long time ago and had to do a lot of renovations. We have had to have some real vision in bringing the food from our pantry to our distribution point.”

Organizers of the effort hope to have their one-of-a-kind food pantry open to the public in the future. 

“When we are able, we hope to have people come in and pick out the food and supplies they need in the comfort of a store shop setting,” Olson said. “They will be able to come in and get the supplies they need with dignity.”

Olson added that First Baptist Church always welcomes public contributions to help with food distribution.

“We are taking donations from anyone interested,” Olson said. “Right now we are saving for a freezer and a fridge to be able to store frozen and chilled items for the food pantry.”

First Baptist Church will distribute food every first Monday of the month from 9 a.m. until noon. The next distribution is set for Monday, June 7.

For more information, including service times, follow First Baptist Church on Facebook or visit the church website at erwinfirst.org.