Churches give away 40k pounds of food

The Midway Area Churches Association, with help from its sponsors and partners, gave away more than 40,000 pounds of food in a matter of a few hours on Saturday, providing assistance to well over 400 families as part of an annual giveaway that returned for the first time. since 2019.

“Everything went great – we had over 40,000 pounds of food and we gave every bit of it away,” MAC leader and event organizer the Rev. Floyd Ray stated following the giveaway.

Saturday’s event marked the return of a massive undertaking by the MAC Association as the group of churches targeted the largest ever food distribution event. The Mini-MAC Day and Food Giveaway was held at Midway High School. There will also be another three $ 1,000 scholarships offered to local students at a ceremony later this month.

Other food giveaways have been held at Mount Zion Church in the recent past, spearheaded by the MAC Association.

Back in 2019, the 11th annual MAC Association Community Fun Day was held. While organizers wanted to return to the “Fun,” they began planning the 12th edition months ago with the limitations of the pandemic. That meant holding off on some of the live festivities, notably the car show.

“In the past few years, we’ve tried to have a day filled with fun, food, singing, play areas for the kids, and the car show,” Ray said. “This year with some uncertainty still lingering from COVID, we decided to do things a little differently. This year, our focus was on helping the community. ”

To that end, organizers wanted to do a food giveaway “bigger than any we have ever done,” said Ray.

There were inflatables and a DJ, as well as some other food vendors, where churches were offering plates.

“This year, because of the pandemic, we held back on the car show and some other things. We felt like we could help the community better by feeding them. It’s one of the biggest food giveaways we’ve had, ”said Ray. “Next year, if nothing happens (to prevent it), we hope to go back to the car show and churches cooking out, just like we did this year.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Community Fun Day was a massive public event that brought thousands of people to northern Sampson County, the culmination of a year-round effort by dozens of churches to collect membership dues and partner with local businesses in order to offer some free food and fun to the community.

The event started off back in 2008, with 10 churches at Midway Elementary School. It has grown over the years to around 40 churches, with about 4,000-5,000 people in attendance in recent years.

The MAC Association includes close to 60 different churches in the Midway and surrounding area, of which about two-thirds have participated in the annual Community Fun Day event. Each church donates $ 200 as well as other goodies on the day of the event in order for everything to be offered free, which over the years have been possible through a number of donations.

Additionally, the Midway Area Churches Association has regularly given scholarships to MAC-involved students, the amount able to increase over the years. In 2019, that amount was $ 2,000. That amount will be $ 3,000 this year.

In the past, Ray has pointed to Community Fun Day as an option for families who may not be able to make it to Myrtle Beach or the State Fair every year.

“It’s about being able to reach out to people and give them the opportunity to fallowship,” said Ray. “Those who can’t make it to church, we bring the church to them.”

Each church donates a fee each year and that is used to prepare for the annual event. The association is “all denominations, creeds and colors,” Ray noted. This year, thousands of dollars were spent on foodstuffs, supplies and other expenses and more than $ 1 million worth of insurance obtained to put on the festivities,

“The main thing is to bring the churches together to the community and give back to the community,” he said. “It’s a non-denominational event. We’re not here to recruit people back to each other’s church. We’re there just to fellowship with the community and bring people together. ”

While the event is a little different this year, MAC Association leaders said the goal was still very much that same.

“The Lord has provided,” Ray said following this year’s event. “Our goal is to bring the community and the kids together and enjoy fellowship. That is always our mission. ”

Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.

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