By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
METAIRIE – Memorial Baptist Church and School recently went “all in” for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home Fall Food Roundup and collected more than 30,000 items that will be used to help feed and provide supplies for residents at the ministry’s campus in Monroe throughout the upcoming year.
The effort was embraced by the students, parents and church members as they worked together to surpass their all-time record.
One class at the 335-student school collected 5,000 items and was rewarded with a trip to a local restaurant. The congregation, which averages 125 in Sunday morning worship, also gave $2,200 and set up a Facebook donation page that raised an additional $1,000.
Pastor Dan Pritchett even stepped up to provide extra motivation for the drive by offering to shave his head if more than 30,000 non-perishable groceries, paper products, and cleaning supplies were contributed to the drive.
“In previous years, the school principal and I competed with one another, with the person coming in second sleeping on our church roof,” Pritchett said. “We finally had gotten at a place where we needed something fresh and wanted the Lord to blow this up. Then I walked in one day and one of the parents asked, ‘What if Pastor Dan shaved his head?’ My wife wasn’t really crazy about me agreeing to shave my head, but she decided it was okay because of how important it is to our church and school.”
Participation has increased greatly since five years ago when 20,000 items were collected. Now, Pritchett believes his congregation and school are ready to step to the challenge he is making to any church or association in the state.
“Memorial will take on any church or association and we will compete with them for who can give the most items,” Pritchett said. “If we win, then their pastor or director of missions comes down here and we throw a big party for whoever sleeps on our roof. Then if they win, we will drive to their church or association and we will throw a party at their place and sleep on their roof.
“We are at a place where we can go bigger with this,” he continued. “Friendly completion for the glory of God can make a big difference in the Kingdom and for the Fall Food Roundup.”
The annual Fall Food Roundup began in the early 1900s.
Children’s Home cottage dads and staff drive across the state over a four-week period in the fall to collect the items at church collection points. The cooperative effort provides non-perishable food needs for an entire year. Money received from the Fall Food Roundup is used to purchase milk, bread, eggs, meat and fresh produce needed throughout the year.
“Pastor Dan Pritchett and principal Jerry Riggs have created an incredible culture of compassion at Memorial Baptist Church and School,” said Perry Hancock, president and CEO of the Children’s Home. “I was overwhelmed when I entered the sanctuary and saw over 30,000 items that church members and students had collected for the Fall Food Roundup. I cannot thank them all enough for meeting the needs of our children at LBCH.”