Churches come together to help those in need

Heavy hearts carry on a Thanksgiving tradition


ALBEMARLE — Members from eight churches joined together to deliver Thanksgiving meals to needy families in the community with the Community Coalition for Christ Thursday morning.

The almost 100 meals that were delivered consisted of a box from Bojangles that included a turkey, sides and a tea along with a bag of canned vegetables and a pie. The families that were larger received two meals. People from the community donated $50 to sponsor meals and women from the churches involved were asked to bake pies.

Many people who attended have been involved for numerous years.

“I got started the year I was battling cancer, five years ago,” said Chante Cranford, who has been helping for four years. “It is such a blessing to serve others and to see my 17-year-old son look forward to doing this every year. It is priceless having the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Cranford is not the only mother who enjoys seeing their children get involved.

“The thing that impacted me the most was taking our boys into Amhurst, there was such an overwhelming peace that came over me. … God’s presence was definitely with us,” said Stacey Laney.

Laney and her husband, Dusty, who is the youth pastor at Highland Baptist Church, both volunteered last year, but gained such a blessing from it that they brought their three kids along this year.

The last house the Laneys went to was empty other than for a mother and her two teenagers.

“You could tell she [the mother] was very distracted,” Stacey Laney said.

After the Laneys prayed with them, the mother began to cry and told themhow she had been praying just before they came and then the how the Lord provided.

“It was an eye-opening experience, especially for my 14-, 9-, and 7-year-old,” said Stacy Laney.

One void that could not be avoided by many was the absence of Pastor Otis Goins, who had been involved with the program for years and died the Sunday before. Members of his church were there to help, but everyone who knew him talked about how much he will be missed and how much good he did for the community.

“Pastor Otis stopped me the Sunday morning he passed asking when the cutoff was to donate for the Thanksgiving meals, he always had a heart of service and give anyway he could,” said Cranford, who attends New London First Baptist Church and has been serving with this ministry for four years.

Volunteers who had served with Otis were also missing him Thursday morning and saddened by his death.

“Charles Stanly once said, ‘Earthly wisdom is doing what is natural, Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do,’ Rev. Otis Goins was a man who listened to the Holy Spirit,” said the Rev. Bill Cogley, who is the minister of music at Highland Baptist Church and attended the Thanksgiving meal delivery with his family. “His outward expressions were a by-product of what took place inward that compelled him to do the work of Christ. He will be dearly missed.”

The eight churches represented Thursday were Dunns Grove Church, Freedom Tabernacle Baptist Church, Green Memorial United Methodist Church, Highland Baptist Church, New London First Baptist Church, Norwood First United Methodist Church, Porter Baptist Church and West Albemarle Baptist Church.

Highland Baptist Church had 30 people come out to help Thanksgiving morning. The church has participated in the last three Thanksgiving day deliveries.

“I was so blessed to see that many from our church so willing to give of their time in that way on that special day,” said Dr. Micheal Madaris, pastor of Highland Baptist Church.

Madaris also brought along his family to help deliver.

“Personally, my family has really enjoyed beginning our day of Thanksgiving by being the hands and feet of Jesus in our community,” he said. “We are grateful to partner with such an outstanding organization.”

Carol Carter and her family has been helping with this ministry for three years. She serves as a liaison to keep Highland Baptist Church informed of what the Community Coalition for Christ needs.

“This ministry has opened up my eyes to the needs right here in our community and has put a desire in me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these people in our community who need help and the love of Jesus,” said Carter.

The Community Coalition for Christ also holds a clothing giveaway just before school starts back in the fall and providing Christmas to needy children and their families within the area.

There are already 245 children that are on the Christmas list and the number is continuing to grow.