Concerned Churches of Pine Bluff have committed more than $10,000 to a community outreach project entitled The Fresh 5 Initiative.

According to a news release from the Rev. Derick Easter, the initiative includes:

1. Supporting the work of Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry to assist in feeding the community;

2. Offering more than 400 free hot meals at various locations across Pine Bluff;

3. Blessing more than 200 people with free gas giveaways;

4. Beginning a business outreach plan highlighting small businesses in the community to generate

support weekly;

5. Offering a limited number of stipends for barbers and beauticians in the community.

The outreach will also include a mini pantry program at different sites across Pine Bluff and more, according to the release.

The local pastors decided to do their part during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In an unprecedented season of community crisis because of a pandemic, churches everywhere are asking, ‘What can we do to reach out to the local community, the poor, and the marginalized during this time, while maintaining social distancing?’ As a group of concerned pastors and churches in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, we have come together to offer an encouraging and creative response to do our part to help our citizens,” according to the release.

Organizers referred to the following scripture in the news release: 1 John 3:17 - “Whoever has this world’s goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

One of the participants is the Rev. Julius McDade, pastor of the New Direction Baptist Church.

“To take care of the poor is not only a practical, but a spiritual responsibility,” McDade said.

The Rev. Johnny Smith is pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church.

“It is a time for us to remember that God shines most brightly through sacrificial deeds of love for our fellow man or woman and I’m excited that we can do this as a collaborative effort,” Smith said.

Easter is pastor of the New St. Hurricane Baptist Church.

“This season is our opportunity to show visible demonstrations of love towards each other and our neighbors,” he said.

Participating Churches include:

New St. Hurricane Baptist Church – the Rev. Derick Easter, pastor;

Old St. James Baptist Church – the Rev. David Smith, pastor;

New Jerusalem Baptist Church – the Rev. Marc Wilson, pastor;

Shiloh Baptist Church – the Rev. Johnny Smith, pastor;

St. John AME – the Rev. Cecil Williams, pastor;

Rose Hill Baptist Church – the Rev. George Waters, pastor;

New Direction Baptist Church – the Rev. Julius McDade, pastor;

St. Mark Baptist Church (Sherrill) – the Rev. Omar Davis, pastor;

Barraque Street Baptist Church – the Rev. Sidney Milton, pastor;

Pine Hill Baptist Church – the Rev. Glenn Barnes, pastor;

Open Door Christian Church – the Rev. LeArthur Shelton, pastor;

First Missionary Baptist Church – the Rev. Charles Boyd, pastor;

St. Peter’s Rock Baptist Church – the Rev. Darren Edgerson, pastor;

Main Street Church of God in Christ – the Rev. Brandon Clay, pastor;

First Trinity Church of God in Christ – the Rev. Aaron Withers, pastor;

Greater Mt. Calvary – the Rev. Travis Harden, pastor;

New Morning Star Baptist Church – the Rev. Raeshawn Howard, pastor.

Details: The Rev. Derick Easter, New St. Hurricane Baptist Church 870-536-