A 3-Hour Sunday Afternoon Basket Giveaway Becomes an Unforgettable Outreach
By Ruth Schenk
Flyers in grocery stores, churches and businesses in Clarksville, New Albany, and Jeffersonville, Indiana invited Hispanic families to a fun giveaway for children. Volunteers filled baskets with Bibles, books, treats, and a few simple toys packed especially with kids in mind. On Sunday afternoon, January 10, 65 families drove up to the portico of the Primera Iglesia Bautista de Clarksville church in Clarksville where volunteers talked a moment with them about life, how they are doing, about their needs, and how to pray for them.
That afternoon became far more than a drive-by giveaway. Twenty stayed to learn more about Jesus and nine decided to follow Him. Dozens more left their names, addresses, and phone numbers for continued contact.
Southeast Christian Church member Omar Gonzalez called it “a great day.” A fulfillment of his vision to partner with local Hispanic churches for outreach in the community. Months earlier, he asked Pastor Ernesto Fernandez from Primera Iglesia Bautista de Clarksville to partner with Southeast to meet new families in the community. Though members of the Hispanic church want to engage others in the community, it can be difficult. Many members work several jobs. Pastor Fernandez also works, and the church runs on a tight budget.
“That’s where Southeast can partner. We can empower these churches to reach out into the community,” Gonzalez said. “Pastor Fernandez put a leadership team together to go into the community and invite people to the giveaway. Faith is huge in the Hispanic community. So is hard work. We need to partner with local churches to reach out to our neighbors, to come alongside them. We can help carry their burdens.”
Throughout the afternoon, Pastor Fernandez and his team met with families and are already contacting those who left their names and addresses.
“This is amazing,” Gonzalez said. “There are 35,000 Hispanics in the area. We must empower local Hispanic churches and encourage these pastors to reach out to them. This one afternoon is a great beginning.”