08 Baptist give awayThe First Baptist Church will host its annual “Christmas Day of Love” on Dec. 5 from noon to 2 p.m. to pass out free groceries and serve hot meals to members of the community.

Volunteers from the church will also provide a bag of non-perishable grocery items, said Rev. Fredrick Culbreth. The items are ones that can be prepared in a kitchen or consumed without preparation, if a person is homeless.

Culbreth said the hot meal provided will include turkey, ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, bread and more.

The food was donated and/or collected by members of the congregation and Second Harvest Food Bank.

The church members and volunteers will be observing COVID-19 precautions like social distancing, wearing a mask and gloves. They will also provide masks to visitors who do not have them.

“When they come through, we will first give them their hot meal in a to-go container, and then hand them the smaller grocery bags, so they can carry those out,” Culbreth said. “If it's a nice day, we'll set up outside and, if not, then inside our gym and only bring in five people at time, we’ll serve them, and make sure they go in one way and exit out another.”

The “Christmas Day of Love” is the last major mission event the church has scheduled for this calendar year. Culbreth said they usually do their last give-away during the holiday season before members get too busy or go out of town.

“This is an annual event, and there’s people in the community that know about it and look forward to it,” he said.

The church hosts many food give-aways and other events throughout the year, other missions include serving meals to first responders and such. Culbreth said it is important to keep hosting these events while dealing with the pandemic and First Baptist is determined to continue such events.

“Just because COVID is here doesn't mean there's any less people in need, actually there are more people in need,” he said.

The Church is hoping to reach between 200 and 250 families with the “Christmas Day of Love” event.

“We just wanted to let the community know that we’ve been thinking about them,” Culbreth said.

For more information on First Baptist Church located at 302 Moore St. in Fayetteville, visit www.1st-baptist.com.

Pictured: Volunteers from the First Baptist Church in Fayetteville work to prepare last year's "Christmas Day of Love" food give-away. The 2020 event will take place on Dec. 5 with chruch members offering a hot meal and a take-away bag of groceries. (Photo courtesy First Baptist Church)

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