Over 65 volunteers from several Knoxville area churches were on hand at Cedaridge Ministries in Williamsburg Monday and Tuesday September 24 and 25 to give away free food and clothing. Beauticians were on hand to give free haircuts. Free cleaning supplies were also shared.
Wallace Memorial Church Director of Missions Sandy Bolton estimates that between 300 – 400 less fortunate people were aided by the two-day effort in Whitley County.
“We provide a lot of food items. They probably end up with eight or nine bags of food items plus laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner and those type of items,” Bolton said. “We are just so excited to be able to partner with Keith (Decker, Cedaridge President), his wife, and the ministry here just to be able to give a gift to the people.”
In addition, the group had two nurses on hand to check blood pressure and answer any general medical questions.
Wallace Memorial Church started the Appalachian Enterprise Team in 2000 as a mission outreach program in places like West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Since that time, several other small churches have joined the effort.
The group first included Williamsburg in its mission work about 12 years ago.
At the time, the Williamsburg effort was lead by Jeanette Thomas, who lived in Whitley County as a child and remembered how community members tried to help her and her struggling family survive when she was young.
Thomas started the effort in Williamsburg as a way to give back to the community that helped her as a child, and the effort continues today despite the fact she is no longer able to physically help.
Bolton said that it is a blessing to be able to help people out in this manner.
“The Bible says to go ye therefore and make disciples. You can offer a person some food items, but you can also tell the person we are doing this because we love Jesus and he instructs us to help those that need help so it is extremely rewarding,” Bolton added.
“It is very rewarding for our church. It is especially rewarding when we share with people that we are doing this because we love Jesus. Through the love of Jesus we have eternal life that is the difference for us.”
The group does a similar giveaway in Oneida, Tennessee in the spring.