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Serving by doing
A South Carolina church lends a hand at the Good Samaritan Food and Furniture Bank
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Brian French, youth minister at Dutch Fork Baptist Church in Ballentine, S.C., volunteers Friday at Good Samaritan Food and Furniture Bank. Church members came to help out the ministry in person after providing funds for the past year and half. - photo by Tom Reed

For about a year and a half now, Dutch Fork Baptist Church from Ballentine, S.C., has provided needed funds to the Good Samaritan Food and Furniture Bank.

And for the first time on Friday, church members got to participate and see the ministry in action.

"They are counseling ... working all over the building," said Mike Walston, the director of church and community ministries at the Chattahoochee Baptist Association. "Every month they take up an offering for Good Samaritan in Gainesville. I wanted people community-wide to know that we have a church outside of our community helping us. This is the only one outside of the state."

Twice a year Walston, who heads up the food bank, travels outside Georgia to minister to other churches about the association and the Good Samaritan Food Bank. During one of these ministry trips, Dutch Fork Baptist decided to donate to the food bank.

"We've had a love relationship ever since," Walston said. "This is the first time they've ever been here personally."

Dutch Fork Baptist, which has about 150 regular attending members, is located about 20 miles outside of downtown Columbia, S.C.

Lacy McDade serves as the missions director for Dutch Fork, and he organized the mission trip for the nine church members.

"We want to help out missions outside of our church itself," McDade said. "There are missions that are local, regional and global. So part of what we do at our home church, we want to help out ministries beyond our church walls."

McDade said the church had been looking for a ministry to partner with and chose Good Samaritan.

"About a year ago, I was asked to lead the missions team at the church and one of the things that I felt led to do was we should come and help personally," McDade said. "Also, it helps us to see first hand that there are needs outside of our home."

The group of nine have been in Gainesville since Thursday, staying at the Family Life Center at First Baptist Church. They help Walston do everything from picking up deliveries to unloading trucks to ministering to those in need of food.

"My family and I support this ministry financially and we wanted to put our hands on what our money is doing," said Brian French, the youth minister at Dutch Fork. "People have physical needs and spiritual needs, and we need to fulfill the (physical) needs so we can minister to the spiritual needs."

French traveled to Gainesville with wife Cheryl, who also serves as youth minister, and children Bethany, 7 and Andrew, 5.

The children even have volunteered their time by sweeping and helping unload trucks filled with food.

McDade added that Dutch Fork Baptist just wants to help the Gainesville community.

"As Christians we want to be able to serve and give back," he said. "We are not trying to get a pat on the back. We do it because we love the Lord and he has been good to us."

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