There has long been a canned food pantry for emergency needs at Cedar Bluff First United Methodist Church, but in 2010 a "God change" occurred. One of our members was contacted by the Baptist church next door. They had committed to pick up food three times each week from the local WalMart for a fresh food pantry. With only two volunteers, they quickly became overwhelmed.
Our member gladly accepted the challenge of picking up and distributing the food every other week, then broke it to our church leadership that she had done so. Then, she told us she would be unable to help after two weeks because of her job.
Another "God change" happened.
We realized we had to have help, and as we began picking up and distributing the food we asked recipients to become volunteers.
Attendance climbed from 15-20 people quickly. Our volunteers began serving coffee, pastries and other goodies. More and more people began arriving earlier and earlier for fellowship and fun. We began to invite people to sing, play guitar or piano, and then prayer requests began surfacing.
This year we formally launched a worship time. Currently, we worship at 10 a.m. three days every other week during the coffee and fellowship time. Naming themselves the Good Shepherd Food Basket, up to 65 households (110+people) attend, sing, pray, hear a devotional sermon, and share and receive food. Thirteen congregations now send volunteers, but for many people this is the only Church they attend. One man told us, "I've never felt welcome in Church. I feel welcome here."
All ages, races, and even denominations are a part of this vibrant worshiping community.