Murfreesboro church serves community with toy fair, Advent feast

First United Methodist Church Murfreesboro hosted its 12th annual Toy and Clothing Fair Dec. 13-14, 2013, through its mission house, Blessed Beginnings. 
Blessed Beginnings is one of the church’s many outreach programs for the communities of Pike, Hempstead, Clark and Howard counties. 
“This has been the largest toy fair thus far,” said Pat McKnight, mission coordinator for the church. She and others worked long hours preparing for this event, which provides those in need with new and used toys, new and used clothing, shoes, bath and beauty products and household items.
McKnight also coordinated with the Gideons, who donated 200 Bibles that were given away the first day of the fair. About 200 bags of groceries were distributed, exhausting the inventory of the Blessed Beginnings pantry.  
“The one thing that the volunteers were disheartened about was that we gave out all the toys before the event was scheduled to close, and some families were not helped,” Pastor James Wainscott said. “Over 300 families, which translated, means almost 800 people, were helped this year—more than ever before.”
The same weekend, the church hosted its 37th annual Advent Feast, a fellowship meal for the residents of Murfreesboro and surrounding communities. The church fed about 175 people, some of whom had also visited the toy fair earlier in the day. In addition, church members took food to the local jail for the inmates and guards.  
“In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, Jesus gives us an example of what we are to do as members of the body of Christ,” Wainscott said. “By helping those in need, we are helping Jesus. In order to show the love of Christ, we must show love ourselves.”