Following the Saturday morning session of Pilgrimage, over 600 youth joined together for a community meal in support of hurricane recovery efforts. Eat for Relief, a mission meal of NCC Pilgrimage raised $6971 for Youth Storm Response. This time of food and fellowship represented our conference well: a generous connectional ministry committed to showing up for our neighbors.
As Methodists, we know there is something special about sharing a meal together. Thanks to the gracious support of Al Miller (Director of Disaster Ministries), Haymount United Methodist Men, Pier 41, and Hopkin’s BBQ, youth feasted on hamburgers, hotdogs, slaw, baked beans, and chips.
Meanwhile, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and NC Conference Leadership Team members served up food and drinks to the crowd. While dining, the youth had the opportunity to write messages to those affected by Hurricane Dorian, and they shared their favorite comforting Bible verses and encouraging words with the community of Ocracoke. The twenty-eight participating churches represented all eight districts, highlighting the connectional ministry of our youth raising over $500,000 for disaster recovery.
In addition to table fellowship, Eat for Relief featured stories of those involved in disaster recovery. Kallie Gregg, a seventh-grader from Kitty Hawk UMC, shared about her experience helping others in recovery efforts throughout the past year. As an Outer Banks native, she is familiar with the devastation that accompanies hurricanes. Following Hurricane Florence, her youth group wanted to help their peers in Wilmington. They organized a bake sale, candle sale, and car wash. Kallie’s kitchen was home base for the hundreds of pies and cakes they baked! Kitty Hawk UMC youth raised over $1500 through their efforts. Kallie and her youth group now have already committed to helping their neighbors in the Ocracoke and Hatteras communities following the destruction of Hurricane Dorian. Kallie said she has her apron ready!
Jay Locklear and Amanda Packer of NC Conference Disaster Ministries shared stories of the recovery efforts from the past year, reminding youth of the purpose of this event and their continued efforts to support Disaster Ministries. Thanks to the generosity of the NC Conference, every participant went home with a 40 Days of Reflections coloring devotion book as a tangible reminder of the prayerful journey to come.
Youth left Eat for Relief with full stomachs and a renewed commitment to disaster recovery. The food was plentiful, the laughs were many, and hope was abundant.
*Article written by Hannah McMillan