Southern Baptist organization feeding thousands in Kinston
Willie Williams, of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief group from Tennessee, prepares broccoli for a meal Friday. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
A relief effort at First Baptist Church in Kinston has been ongoing on since Hurricane Florence ravaged the region last week.
The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization came in Sunday from Kingsport, Tennessee to serve the community. The group has set up shop in the First Baptist Church parking lot to provide free meals for the public at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.
Jim Ramey, director of SBCDR, has worked with the group since 1987 and full-time since 1997. Ramey said the goal is to help those in need, particularly in these harsh times, and they've served anywhere from 6,000 to 12,000 people each day in Kinston.
"It doesn't matter who they are," Ramey said. "We're here to serve: first responders, residents, soldiers. We were able to set up here and blessed to serve so many people daily.
"God allowed me to retire early at 51 and I've been doing this full-time since. Everyone has a gift and the ability to do something, and (serving people) is mine."
Sandra Williams has worked with the organization for three years and said she's more than happy to assist.
"We're doing what we're supposed to do," Williams said. "Jesus said to feed His children and that's what we're trying to do."
First Baptist Church pastor Jonathan Hoover said the group’s efforts have been amazing.
"It's a great thing they're doing," Hoover said. "They've been in the background cooking more than 10,000 meals all over. It's a smooth transition and we appreciate what they're doing."