Nineteen local organizations were recipients of a large food donation that came as the result of a partnership between the Fellowship of Love Church in Fayetteville, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Fayetteville Stake and the Black 14.
The donation of 40,000 pounds of food – including pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, flour, soups and dried milk – will help to feed about 1,420 people in Fayetteville and the surrounding areas.
The food was donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and delivered Saturday in a semi-trailer from the Church’s Bishop’s Storehouse in Utah to the Fellowship of Love Church in Fayetteville. The Fellowship of Love Church identified organizations in Fayetteville and neighboring areas that could be helped by the donations and organized volunteers to distribute the food to the various organizations.
“We were so grateful to be able to partner with the Fellowship of Love Church to help bring much needed food to people in our own community in need of help” said President Rob Richards, the President of the Fayetteville Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “The food comes from the donations and sacrifices of Church members around the world and is a way for us to follow the example of Jesus Christ in showing love for our neighbors.”
Volunteers from both churches met Saturday at the Fellowship of Love church to help unload the 24 pallets of food from the truck. Pat Burke with the Midwest Food Bank also volunteered time Saturday, arranging forklifts to help unload and organize the food.
“This project aligned with our vision of reaching back out into the community to help those in need,” said B.A. Jackson, Lead Pastor with the Fellowship of Love Church. He explained that the church regularly works with organizations in the community through their empowerment package program that helps bring donations made in the church back into the community.
The project began through the work of Tony McGee, a member of the Black 14 and a member of the Fellowship of Love congregation, and Daryl Blount, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Welfare and Self-Reliance Services program.
McGee was one of 14 University of Wyoming athletes – known as the Black 14 – who were dismissed from the team in 1969 prior to a game against Brigham Young University. The group asked their coach if they could protest a policy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that prevented Black men from Priesthood ordination at the time, and all 14 were kicked off the team. That policy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was changed in 1978 and added to the faith’s spiritual canon.
In 2018, the 11 surviving athletes started Black 14, an organization that aims to help educate, feed and serve those in need. In 2020, they began partnering with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help provide humanitarian aid throughout the country.
McGee and Blount had worked on several other large-scale food donations around the U.S., but McGee wanted to help the community closer to home, and through the partnership with the Fellowship of Love Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Fayetteville Stake, they were able to organize both the delivery and the distribution of the food to local organizations in need.
“This means a lot to me personally,” McGee said. “It’s a blessing that as we partner together, we are able to find out who all are and you find out why we are doing the things we do, and helps us to understand each other more.”
The volunteer organizations that were recipients of the donations included the I-58 Mission, Georgia Citizens Coalition on Hunger, Divine Faith Ministries International, Hearts to Nourish Hope, The Pathway Home Foundation, Real Life Center, New Beginnings Praise and Worship Center, Teen Parent Connection, Bread for Days Ministry, Cornerstone Fellowship Church, Christian City, Generations Together, Promise Place, Society of St. Vincent De Paul of Peachtree City, Islamic Community Center of Atlanta, Amazing Grace Community Resource Center, Bloom Our Youth, DFCS and the Pregnancy Resource Center.