Dennis Reynolds, at right, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin, handed bags of baked goods to downtown workers last Thursday as part of the ‘Love Loud’ effort.
Over 800 volunteers served thousands in the community through food giveaways, free health screenings and other random acts of kindness as part of a huge citywide four-day event last week organizers called "Love Loud."
The effort was undertaken by about 30 local churches, with ministers and congregations and Central Baptist Church and Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin leading the charge.
"If it was just an event, then it really failed. What we wanted to do is for this event to become a movement," said Chad Fugitt, Pastor at Central Baptist Church in Corbin. "We want this to be a part of how people are living all throughout the year … My prayer is that people will think more often about these things and that folks will catch on and this won’t be something we do for a few days, but instead becomes part of our lifestyle."
"Love Loud" started last Thursday as green-tshirt-clad volunteers descended on the town to engage in a laundry list of activities.
Some participated in gas "buy downs" at local fueling stations where gift cards were given out to random motorists to help defray the cost of filling up their vehicle. Others provided money to those who needed help at local laundromats. Bags full of baked goods were taken to downtown businesspeople. And a string of block parties were held in different parts of town as a way for citizens to connect with the event.
The biggest day of the event was Saturday at The Arena where over 500 needy families were given free food, medical services, advice and general fellowship. Free car washes were offered. Ninety-seven elderly widows and single mothers were provided with free oil changes. All told, about 1,500 people came to The Arena Saturday to take part in the event.
"Love Loud" wrapped up Sunday evening at The Arena with a concert by Christian rock band "Rush of Fools" and a motivational sermon by nationally renowned speaker Brent Crowe.
Fugitt said following Crowe’s presentation Sunday that 60 people professed their faith in Jesus Christ.
Fugitt said the impetus for "Love Loud" sprang from a desire for local churches and their members to become more connected with people who aren’t connected with a church who have a generally negative impression of religion in general.
"If we just exist for ourselves and the outside community doesn’t know we exist or care, then what good have we done?" Fugitt said. "I think Love Loud was a success. I believe it will have a lasting impact not just on the people we touched, but the people that were part of it as well. It has motivated many people and drawn them out to where the Lord is working and where he wants to use them."