It is a simple mission, to ensure no one is left out during the Christmas season.
For the last 30 years, Pastor Randy Southerland has been working on a mission project every Christmas season.
Pastor, along with volunteers and contributors, wanted to make sure that everyone gets reminded of the meaning of the Christmas season.
This past Tuesday, roughly 150 members of new Hope Baptist Church gathered to sack between 900-1,000 bags full of fruit and candy for various agencies around town. The bags were full of fruits like oranges, apples and bananas along with candies like gum, peppermint sticks, and various candy bars.
“I think it brings a lot of joy to those who are not only a part of the sacking of the fruit,” Southerland said. “But the heart of the giver.”
The sacks were donated across many venues in Stephens County. All the nursing homes in Duncan were included, as well as two nursing homes in Marlow and one in Meridian. Three of Duncan’s retirement centers were included, as were other retirement centers and assisted living homes in Stephens County. Youth services and Fame, a school program in Liberty were also included the donations.
“It can bring joy and remembrance of people during this holiday season,” Southerland said. “The holiday season can be depression for those without loved ones, we hope this helps them out during this season.”
Southerland spoke about in the beginning of his mission project, he wanted to make sure that the senior adults of his congregation were recognized and remembered during the Christmas season. It was a project that he wanted to include into his ministry, hoping that what may appear to be insignificant to some people, is of importance to others.
“Sometimes, it seems like such a small thing,” Southerland said. “It has brought joy into the hearts of people that need to be remembered.”
Monday, several of the volunteers started to set up the tables and the lines for the sacking of the food, making sure everything was set for Tuesday morning. For an hour and a half, volunteers sorted and sacked the bags of fruit and candy purchased with the money from the contributors from the church.
They were able to raise funds to the amount of roughly $9,000 to $9,500 for the donated sacks.
“It’s a two fold thing, to bring joy to those that receive the sacks and joy to the volunteers and contributors that gave,” Southerland said. “Not only of money but time. To make sure someone else has a bright spot in their day.”
— Joshua Kellogg is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 142, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.