Maria's face showed relief as she looked into the brown paper bag filled with food. Gratitude filled her heart because she and her husband would be able to prepare a hot Thanksgiving meal for their three children.
For the third year in a row, volunteers at Heritage United Methodist Church, Enterprise, Alabama, were happy to distribute more than than 1,000 bags of food to people for Thanksgiving. The giveaway – at Heritage and two other churches – was for their "Feeding the Multitudes" outreach ministry.
Preparation begins one week before Thanksgiving when church and community volunteers fill each bag with a ham, canned beans, candied yams, cranberry sauce, corn and rice. The contents feed up to five people. Volunteers also make sure each bag has a Bible and fliers from various churches.
"We also have five services that day," said the Rev. Matt Albritton, pastor of Heritage. "People attend the 28-minute service, which includes song, message, prayer time and altar call." Albritton said that within the past three years, prayer warriors prayed for more than 150 people, and 20 people turned their lives to Christ. Many people do not know how to experience worship, he said, and this gives them a chance to experience Christ's presence.
Albritton commended local businesses, civic organizations, Scouts and church members for donating funds, having canned food drives and giving their time to feed people in need. "We are stepping out in faith and let God size the ministry," he said. "Our greeters during the services are Girl Scouts, and you can't help but be happy."
This year, Heritage fed 15,000 men, women and children from its location and the other sites. "God has been changing our lives in the midst of serving," he said. "We are trying to be obedient to what God is calling us to do."
AT A GLANCE Heritage United Methodist Church | 2911 Rucker Blvd., Enterprise, AL 36330 | 334-347-1991 | [email protected] | www.heritageunitedmethodist.org | Rev. Matt Albritton | Average Attendance: 79 | Alabama-West Florida Conference