Fitzpatrick Baptist Church is reaching out to its hurting neighbors.
The Prestonsburg, Kentucky, church is providing 750 free meals for flood victims in Wayland. They set up shop at the old Wayland High School gym (now a sports museum) made famous by Kentucky basketball legend “King” Kelly Coleman.
Fitzpatrick Pastor Tommy Reed, who is well connected throughout the area, is doing what he can to organize the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
The weekend following the floods, the church provided a meal of two hot dogs, potato chips and homemade chocolate chip cookies on Saturday. On Sunday, it was chicken tenders, corn on the cob and homemade fudge.
A bottle of cold water came with the meals.
‘The best meal I ever had’
“One woman drove up and said, ‘How much are the meals?’” Reed said. “I told her they were free and asked her how many she needed. She said two and I said ‘why don’t you take four? You can save them for later or give them to somebody else.’”
The woman took the meals and came back the next day with a wad of $1 bills, he said. “She wanted to give us something for the meals. She told me they went three days and didn’t have anything to eat. She said, ‘You gave us those hot dogs and that’s the best meal I ever had in my life. We want to give you something for it.’ That’s what these folks have endured.”
That weekend the church provided 750 meals to people in need. Reed said showing compassion and love is what the church is supposed to do. He said the members at Fitzpatrick understand this and rally around it.
“People are so traumatized, and the pain is so great,” Reed said.
He has been running Facebook live update posts every day to keep the church and others informed of the needs in different communities that were hardest hit by flooding. The posts have produced interesting results, including one woman promising to make 1,500 cupcakes for the effort.
Reed had asked for 1,500 cupcakes — not necessarily from an individual — but she was first to answer the call. It came minutes after the post.
The pastor was getting ready to speak to the congregation when he learned of the surprise answer. “She said she’d have them there Tuesday evening,” he said. “It said ‘Pastor Tommy needed cupcakes’ and showed her 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son standing up on stools on a kitchen island making cupcakes. Everyone can do something.”
‘All in this together’
On Sunday morning the church had a worship service and then broke out into teams to prepare food and check on others in the community.
Reed received a message from a pastor in Destin, Florida, who he’d never met. The pastor asked the Destin congregation if they knew anybody in eastern Kentucky. A young man said he knew Tommy Reed. “He was my pastor when I was a boy,” the young man said. The pastor asked for Reed’s number and the young man got it from his parents. He called Reed and got the church’s address. They took up a collection and sent a large check to help people in eastern Kentucky.
“We’re all in this together from the little girl baking cupcakes to the rescue people,” Reed said. “It’s awesome how people in the mountains have responded. Pray the Lord will send the rain somewhere else.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Mark Maynard and was originally published by Kentucky Today, the news service of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.