By GWEN SISSON
CUMBERLAND — Rev. J. R. Eaton of First Baptist Church in Cumberland said their community has been very fortunate.
Following a category four tornado that ripped through the Cumberland community last week, Eaton said area churches heard about the damage and immediately began offering to help.
Eaton said it began with First Baptist Church in Houston. They offered to send their food unit to set up at First Baptist Cumberland to serve lunch to anyone in the community and all workers helping to restore power and clean up.
Meadowview Baptist Church in Starkville and Mantee Baptist Church soon followed, allowing the tornado victims and utility workers an opportunity to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at a central location.
First Baptist Church in Cumberland received only minor damages in a storm that destroyed East Webster High School, just across the street, as well as numerous homes within the community. The minor damages have allowed members of various churches to use the facility to directly “minister to the needs” of a community following a natural disaster.
The meals have been cooked at the individual churches and brought to First Baptist Cumberland to be served by the cooks.
“They have said they are here to serve the community, including our church,” Eaton said. “And what a great blessing they have been to this community.”
Eaton said an average of 100 people have stopped by the church over the past week for lunch and dinner. They have only recently began serving breakfast.
“It is wonderful that they have been able to provide food for this community,” Eaton said. “This has not only kept our strength up, but our spirits up. We are so happy to be together and alive and able to love each other. We are blessed.”
Eaton said these churches have clearly shown genuine care and concern for their neighbors.
“I would say Meadowview, Houston and Mantee churches have clearly shown what it means to be part of the Christian community,” Eaton said. “From the bottom of our hearts, we are genuinely thankful for the wonderful partnership this has been. They have shown that to know Christ is to take on the role of a servant and to help others. We have seen that are the genuinely grateful.”
Eaton said he has seen ladies from these churches stand on their feet for eight to 10 hours a day serving food and taking care of the Cumberland community.
“I don’t know when they eat,” Eaton said. “They have been the clearest definition of virtuous women. They have been perfect and have worked so hard.”
Eaton said the church is most thankful for Jesus Christ who has been a “refuge in the midst of the storm.”
“This has been an emotional time,” Eaton said. “I hope this sparks a revival in this community with all of the credit, all of the glory, going to Jesus Christ who has been our refuge and our strength. We can rebuild and we will be stronger together as we trust God.”
Eaton said individuals throughout the area have also provided food supplies, desserts, paper products and other supplies as part of the effort to serve food to the community. “We’ve been blessed,” Eaton said.