Martinsburg church's turkey gift-giving multiplies

December 06, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — As part of gift-giving this time of year, a local church got much more than 200 frozen turkeys to give away to the community. It collected 309 turkeys from its members and three times more than last year.

The Rev. Jacob Atchley said this is the second time the Church at Martinsburg teamed up with Congregational Cooperative Action Project (CCAP) Loaves and Fishes to provide turkeys to help families celebrate Thanksgiving.

As part of Operation: Thanks, congregation members brought frozen turkeys to the drop-off place at the Martinsburg Mall’s Regal Cinemas parking lot a few days before Thanksgiving.

Atchley said last year he committed to 40 turkeys and 120 were collected from his congregation.
“I had faith that God would provide,” he said.


He said by caring for the community and giving generously as Jesus did, Operation: Thanks is an example of redefining what the holiday season is about.

“It was truly a blessing,” said Melanie Files, the former co-director of Loaves and Fishes, a non-denominational ministry that serves the community.

Files said now that the Church at Martinsburg teams up with Loaves and Fishes, the worry of not getting enough donated turkeys is gone.

Church administrator A.J. Roberts said he and his finance contributed eight frozen turkeys this year.

Atchley said Roberts was a good example of true gift-giving. He said Roberts is only 22 years old, doesn't make a lot of money, and buying eight turkeys was a sacrifice for him around this time of year.
“Jesus Christ is the best example,” Atchley said.

“When Jesus gets a hold of people, everything changes,” he said.

Atchley said both he and Roberts have experienced this, and Roberts agreed.  

“We want to be like Jesus and tell people about Jesus,” Roberts said.

Atchley said 30 of the turkeys went to the Eastern Panhandle Young Lives, which is a local ministry that reaches out to teenage mothers, and about 70 turkeys were distributed by the church members in their own communities.

“We need to focus on gift-giving food year round,” Files said.

Loaves and Fishes supplies about 25,000 pounds of food to about 375 families a month, she said.

Files said people can contact Rick Lowman, Loaves and Fishes food manager at 304-279-0861 to find out how they can help.

The Church at Martinsburg has a congregation of about 150 members, and it meets on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. at the Regal Cinemas.

Atchley, 30, said the membership outgrew their previous meeting room in the Holiday Inn. The church got started in a living room, he said.

He said the members are a mix of ages from six months to 63 years and has a lot of young people with families.

The church is all about helping the community, he said.

“We have people living the mission of God every day,” Atchley said.

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