DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. – A Maryland Church chose to reach beyond its four walls and share the love of Christ with its community this Easter by hosting a day of family fun and giving away free groceries.
First Baptist Church of District Heights in Maryland hosted a Saturday Easter egg hunt and a grocery giveaway on Saturday for the District Heights community. About 1,000 people attended the event during which children decorated paper crosses with memory verses, searched for plastic eggs filled with candy, and romped in the inflated playhouse while parents picked up free bags of groceries.
Although First Baptist Church of District Heights is not a megachurch with a mega budget, its new pastor Bobby Manning said of the expense, "We really wanted to sink the most money in doing something for the people."
"We just wanted to touch the community and say 'hey we love you guys,'" Manning shared.
The Easter hunt is the first community event First Baptist has held under the leadership of Manning, who encouraged his congregation to go big with the event. This year the church added giving free groceries away and children activities to the church's traditional Easter celebration.
Through a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, Dollar Tree discount store, and Shabach! Ministries – the non-profit of neighboring church First Baptist Church of Glenarden – Manning's congregation packed 200 food packages for residents in need.
The packages contained items such as sweet potatoes, canned vegetables, fresh cabbage, macaroni and cheese, cereal, bread, apple sauce, spaghetti, and bagged salad. In all, the church estimates it spent a few thousand dollars to ensure that families received enough food for four days.
The Easter message of love came through to grocery recipient Megan Logan. Logan and her 3-year-old son Chase Diggs attended the Saturday Community Easter Egg Hunt. Logan, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said the free groceries were a tremendous help. Although she receives disability payments each month, she said she still struggles to pay for groceries.
"It's a blessing," she said of the food. "It came at a right, good time."
Founded in 1952, First Baptist Church of District Heights describes itself as based on the New Testament church model. The Maryland church is missional focus and sends out missionaries to other churches as well as to different countries.