Red Bank Baptist Church became the fifth in the county to join Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts, a program through Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries. The churches prepare and serve meals to anyone who needs or wants one.
Members of Red Bank Baptist Church came together in the fellowship hall for the first event on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, excited to be serving their first community meal and grateful the Lord led them to do it.
“The Lord burdened our hearts and led us to begin this program,” Rev. Danny Sutton, Red Bank’s pastor for seven years, said as he watched members at work in the kitchen and with the guests.
The meal is just another outreach effort by Red Bank. This one, though, seemed to have special meaning.
“We’ve had a vision to do this for about two years,” Sutton said. “The Lord opened the door.”
Some 20 volunteers — the church has around 80 members who attend Sunday services — began arriving about 2:30, three hours before the meal was to be served.
“We enjoy reaching out to the community,” Deborah Ferguson said as she helped prepare the plates of baked ham, soup beans, cornbread, mashed potatoes and, for dessert, cherry crisp. “I hope this encourages more people to take part.”
SMARM provides the food, which is donated by area restaurants. It comes to the church frozen. The church then prepares it the day of the meal. Member Cindy Sutton made the dessert.
“We are so grateful to have Red Bank Baptist Church join our Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts program,” SMARM Executive Director Dick Wellons said. “A hot meal can be a wonderful thing for those who are seeking fellowship and who may be searching for spiritual guidance as well as nourishment.”
Danny and Vickie Faughn arrived with friends and neighbors Judy Clabo and Carolyn Helton.
“This is such a wonderful thing,” Clabo said. “We enjoy the meal, but we really come for the fellowship and to praise God.”
Sutton told those who came for the meal that “not only are we a blessing to you, but you are a blessing to us. You can get your bellies full and your spirits filled too.”
Red Bank, on Old Newport Highway near Walters State, will serve the meal each Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. No reservations are necessary.
The Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts:
— Henderson Chapel Baptist Church, 407 Henderson Road, Pigeon Forge, Mondays from 5:30-6:30
— First Baptist Sevierville youth building on Court Avenue, 5-5:30 Mondays
— Parkway Church of God, 1103 Dolly Parton Parkway, Sevierville, 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays
— Middle Creek United Methodist Church, Lower Middle Creek Road, Pigeon Forge, 5-7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month
— Kodak United Methodist Church, 2823 Bryan Road, 5-6 p.m. Thursdays
— Red Bank Baptist Church, 1530 Old Newport Highway, Sevierville, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays
For more information on the meal program, visit smarm.org or call 865-908-3153.
Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit that serves the poor and needy in Sevier County.
Feature Photo: Red Bank member Bonnie Ownby stirs the mashed potatoes during the church’s first Hot Meal for Hungry Hearts effort.