This past summer the Lord laid on the hearts of a couple of ladies at Pine Hill Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, KY to have a free clothing give away. They shared this idea with others in the congregation and plans were soon being made for their first ever Operation InAsMuch Day, a one-day blitz by the church in the community.
For months, they gathered and sorted clothing. Adults, children, and youth all pitched in to help. Although it was hard work, and took lots of hours, it was a great time as they worked together to prepare for this project. Many times they stopped to “model” some of the clothing and found a few pieces to set aside for ourselves.
Everything was ready to go. On Saturday, October 15th, the big day came. The clothing was sorted, the workers were in place, and the doors set to open at 10:00 AM at this small, rural, 60-member church. They had never done anything like this before and did not really know what to expect. The church is five miles out of town. The event had been advertised in the local newspaper, on the radio, and at the 5 county schools, but they could not help but wonder if anyone would show up.
But, were they ever in for a surprise! At 8:50 AM the first cars began rolling in to the parking lot and, from that point on, they kept coming, and coming, and coming, until 1:00 PM, when the event was scheduled to end. An estimated 250 people showed up for this free clothing give-away. People came from all across the county, and from 4 adjoining counties.
People were “shopping,” men of the church were grilling hot dogs, and ladies were in the kitchen preparing chips, drinks, and cookies. Other church members were mingling with the crowd, talking to people, making them feel welcome, inviting them back to church, and witnessing where the opportunity presented itself.
The church was blown away by the response. But, the “guests” were blown away as well. Many of them wanted to pay for the hot dogs and commented that they had never been to a place where everything was free.
Nobody seemed to be in any big hurry. The folks “shopped,” ate, and some just sat around visiting and enjoying the day.
The “guests” were invited to register for a couple of grocery gift cards. On the registration cards 11 people indicated they would be interested in a call or visit from the church. Three persons have already visited the church as a result of the clothing give-away and the church is still following up with others.
Nineteen members of the church showed up on the day of the event to work, but a total of 40, ranging in age from four to eighty-two, had actually helped in some way. One member said, “I’m not sure who received the bigger blessing from the event, our community or our church members who absolutely loved seeing our hard work pay off.” Another lady said, “To me it was a very humbling experience. Most of all, what got me was when several asked when would we be doing another one.” One of the most interesting comments came from a teenager that had worked so hard. He simply said, “It’s all worth it.”
And, yes, plans are being made for a similar event in the Spring of 2017.