OAKWOOD — No, the circus didn’t come to Blackshear Place Baptist Church this weekend.
The white tent, 60 feet by 150 feet and covering a big chunk of parking lot, served as ground zero for the church’s Feeding the 5,000, a community outreach event sponsored by the church as part of its “year of service.”
Church members stopped by the tent Saturday and Sunday to pick up boxes containing food, as well as household, hygiene and beauty products.
“Pastor (Jeff Crook) had a real desire for us to be active in the community this year,” said Jason Nave, who serves in the pastoral/missions ministry at the church. “... We are going into our community doing all types of service projects.”
Members distributed three boxes to each of 1,200 families in Gainesville and South Hall.
The church, which is off Atlanta Highway and Mundy Mill Road, got the names of families from the Chattahoochee Baptist Association off McEver Road in Gainesville.
“When people fill out applications (for the association’s food bank), they sign a waiver that (the association) can give their information out to other organizations that want to be a blessing to them as well in these tough economic times,” Nave said.
Members’ unscheduled visits include an invitation for the families to worship with them at the church.
However, “we are doing this strictly to love on them,” Nave said. “There’s no motive behind it. We’re just wanting to be involved in our community and that we care about them. And that, ultimately, Jesus loves them.”
The church bought the boxes of food and other items from Feed the Children, a nonprofit Christian ministry based out of Oklahoma City, Okla. Church members are asked to help underwrite the costs.
Drewery Loggins, leader of a Sunday school class of older adults, led a caravan of cars out of the rain-soaked church parking lot Sunday to deliver boxes to families in apartments off E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville.
“It’s a honor for me to be a part of this day,” he said.
The event draws its name from the Gospel of Matthew’s account of Jesus and his disciples feeding 5,000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish.
“I think that when we do this (community service), we are trying to be Christ-like,” Loggins said. “Christ was concerned about people in his day. He’s still concerned about people today.”