Up & Coming Weekly

June 30, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 14 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW JULY 1-7, 2020 EARL VAUGHAN JR., Senior Staff Writer. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. 910-364-6638. Hope Mills News & Views NEWS There will be no Fourth of July parade and no public fireworks display in Hope Mills this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The town's Board of Commissioners recently voted to delay the fire- works until Ole Mill Days in the fall, concerned about large crowds that might gather to watch as reports of spikes in the spread of the disease continue. Meghan Freeman of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation staff began exploring alternative ways to celebrate the holiday and learned of a tradition in another town involving decorating homes and businesses. Freeman thought it was a cute way to observe the holiday while still keeping safe through social distancing. Townsfolk are urged to show off their patriotism in any manner they choose. It can include displays of red, white and blue, or they can put together a display that honors first responders or essential workers. "The purpose of decorating is to unleash their creativity and bring a smile to their neighbors,'' Freeman said. If they don't have a porch or lawn, Freeman said homeowners, apartment dwellers and businesses in Hope Mills can decorate anything about their location that can be seen from the street or the sidewalk. People who have piers on Hope Mills Lake are also welcome to decorate those, but Freeman said she doesn't plan to include them in the decorating contest that the town will be conducting. There will be three categories in the decorating contest. They are most patriotic, most outstand- ing decoration and spirit of freedom. Prizes will be awarded in each category, but Freeman said a final decision on the nature of the prizes won't be announced until June 30. Registration closed prior to the publication of this article. Contestants need to have their decora- tions in place by June 30 and leave them on display through July 5, which is when the winners will be announced. A committee of elected town officials will drive around to look at the various decorations and make the decision on the winner. Anyone who registered for the competition will have their home marked on an interactive map on the townofhopemills.com website, so people can have a virtual map to find the decorated homes. It will indicate both the address and whether or not the decorations include lights that can be seen at night. The first 50 who sign up will also get yard signs. "We could have easily just thrown up our hands,'' Freeman said. "I think we are providing an outlet for some sort of patriotism. It brings the commu- nity together and it's a time to have fun.'' Deputy Chief Bradley Dean of the Hope Mills Police Department reminded everyone planning their own fireworks that anything that shoots into the air or explodes is illegal without a pyrotechnic license. Dean added the police would rather educate than enforce, but if someone is injured or property damage results from illegal fireworks, they have no choice. "We want people to be safe,'' he said. Porch Parade replaces traditional Hope Mills Fourth of July by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Twenty-one years ago, Pastor Michael Mathis felt a calling to branch out on his own and estab- lish a ministry that was both aimed at worship and serving his fellow man. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a ministry like the one Mathis oper- ates has become more important, and he's try- ing to let people in need from Hope Mills and beyond know what he has available for them. Mathis is the founder of Mission Field Ministries, which has its physical location at 3429 Black and Decker Rd. on the outskirts of Hope Mills. He had previously served at Williams Chapel from 1988-99 when he felt a calling to establish his own church. He started his ministry with regular worship services at the Comfort Inn on Skibo Road in 2000, meeting there for about six years before set- ting up his own place of worship. Outreach has always been a part of what Mathis has done as a minister. He's held regular programs at Haymount Rehabilitation Center on Bragg Boulevard and the prison in Scotland County, until the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions forced him to limit his interaction at both those facilities. He's also done outreach to the homeless in the area, making visits to them beneath bridges to pro- vide assistance. Over the past two years, Mathis has expanded another aspect of his ministry that provides food to those in need. Originally, he was serving about five families on a regular basis. A partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank has increased the reach of the food ministry. Currently, he's serving about 25 families regu- larly, and he's looking to expand more as the pan- demic continues. "About four months ago, we saw the need to do this monthly,'' he said of the food distribution. As a result, Mathis has designated the third Saturday of every month as the day he holds food giveaways at his Black and Decker Road location. After getting the food from Second Harvest or other sources, Mathis has a team that puts it in boxes. The food is provided in an unprepared state and includes both perishable and non-perishable items. The goal with each food box is to provide the basics for a good meal for the family that is receiv- ing it. Each third Saturday during the hours of noon to 2 p.m., any family in need is invited to drive up to the church, open their trunk and the box of food is placed inside. No eating of food on the church grounds is permitted. Mathis said there is no paperwork for people to fill out, no interview process. It is given to anyone who is in need and wants to stop by. So far, Mathis said they've never run out of food dur- ing one of these giveaways, but Mathis said it is first come, first served so people are encouraged to arrive as soon as possible on the giveaway day. "I'm sure the numbers are fixing to increase as more people embrace what we do,'' he said. For that reason, he welcomes donations from anyone who would like to contribute food to the ministry. "I'm proud of the kind of food items we are issuing,'' he said. "I want people to know about this.'' If interested, contact Mathis directly at 910-988-0795. Hope Mills church expanding food ministry by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Mission Field Ministries is expanding their food ministry. The Hope Mills Fourth of July parade will not be held this year. Instead, there will be a Porch Parade. Hope Mills citizens are invited to decorate their porches in red, white and blue colors. The town is doing the same.

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