Churches team up to deliver free meals to families

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Plant City Baptist Church in Lanett and Fairview Baptist Church in Valley have teamed up under Freedom in Christ Ministries, a 501c3 independent ministry, to deliver 100 free meals a day to children in the Fairfax, Langdale, Shawmut and Lanett communities. Children ages 18 months to 18 years old are eligible for the meals.

The meal delivery program was originally the idea of Randall Hamer, the current pastor of Plant City Baptist Church and founder of Freedom in Christ Ministries. Hamer said families are very appreciative of the meals. The point of the program, he said, is to show children and their families the love of Christ.

The meal delivery program started five years ago in LaFayette. At the time, Hamer was pastoring Center Baptist Church.

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“We were reaching out into the LaFayette Housing Authority, and we found out that there was a government program, a state-run program, a summer feeding program that provides meals,” Hamer said. “So what we were asked about was that the kids in the housing authority, they didn’t have anyone that could take them to the school to get their meals. And so, in our conversation with the director at the LaFayette Housing Authority, we put together a plan so that we could go to Eastside Elementary, pick the meals up and bring them and distribute it to the children there at LaFayette Housing Authority.”

Hamer eventually resigned from Center Baptist Church.

“And then, when COVID hit in 2020, we didn’t have access to get into the housing authority in LaFayette because they had shut everything down,” he said.

Hamer said he talked with the director of the Chambers County School District free meals program and told him his ministry wanted to continue distributing the meals. He soon learned that residents of the Valley Housing Authority needed meals delivered to their homes, so his ministry served that community.

In order to deliver 50 meals a day, Freedom in Christ Ministries volunteers scanned people’s yards for signs of children such as trampolines, bicycles and other toys.

“We would stop and knock on the door and say, ‘Hey, My name’s Randall Hamer. I’m with Freedom in Christ Ministries. And here is what we do during the summer. Would you like to participate?’” Hamer said.

Hamer said he became the pastor of Plant City Baptist Church in March of last year. He asked his congregants if they’d like to participate in the meal delivery program, and they said yes.

“And so we reached out into the Lanett area, and we were distributing meals in Lanett and Valley,” he said.

Hamer said Plant City Baptist Church teamed up with Fairview Baptist Church this year to deliver the meals. Also this year, the program started delivering 100 meals a day instead of 50.

He explained that every day the program is run, participants bring meals from a local school to Plant City Baptist Church before delivering the meals to needy families. They ensure that cold food stays cold and hot food stays hot.

Hamer said people are welcome to volunteer with the program.

“We pick the food up at 10 a.m. and put the meals together and meet here at the church at 10:15,” he said.

This year, Freedom in Christ Ministries started delivering meals on Monday, June 6. They will deliver their final meals on Friday, July 22.

“We don’t serve the week of the Fourth because the school system is shut down,” Hamer said.

Anyone who would like to request for meals to be delivered to their home can text or call Hamer at (404) 787-0171.

Hamer said the focus of Freedom in Christ Ministries is to turn people into disciples.

“And in the process of doing that, we host disciple groups,” he said. “But we also do seminars, revivals, crusades, we go to churches and do training sessions on different things such as how to make disciples, evangelism training, strengthening your prayer life.”

Trainees in the ministry go out and help the surrounding communities, Hamer said, through hands-on work such as building wheelchair ramps. He said this allows the outside world to experience the love of Christ first-hand.

At the end of the summer, the ministry has a “free yard sale” that gives away clothes to needy families.

The ministry is supported by about a dozen churches, Hamer said.

“In our culture right now, there’s so much division,” he said. “It is only through the love of Christ that that division can be taken care of and that unity can be made.”