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SPRING HOPE — A little better than loaves and fishes, First Baptist Church is offering free barbecue and coleslaw to the multitudes as part of its first-ever Community Church Pig Pickin’ Contest.
Plates will be served at 5 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist at the corner of East Nash and Walnut streets in downtown Spring Hope.
Participating churches will be cooking whole hogs on pig cookers, said Kevin Moore, pastor at First Baptist.
Matthew 7:1 says not to judge, but the chapter and verse doesn’t apply to barbecue. Contest judging will start at 4 p.m. The winner will be announced at 4:45, and church members will start serving plates to everyone present at 5.
Moore said the gathering’s goals are to serve folks in need by offering free barbecue as a way of alleviating hunger and coming together to build camaraderie between local churches while serving the community.
The idea originated with a group of the church’s young adults and seniors with the church’s mission and outreach focus group coming together to plan ways for the church to partner with other local churches to benefit the community, Moore said.
“This group formed in our church a few years ago as we tried to figure out ways to be more involved in our community and help those in need,” Moore said. “We realize there is a lot of poverty in our area, as well as food insecurity.”
Moore said he would love to see the cookoff continue into the future.
“It’s been both exciting and challenging as we have put everything into place for this year,” Moore said. “I’ve learned a lot more about barbecue contests than I could ever imagine.”
Cornelius Joyner, one of the cook team leaders from Gold Valley Church of God, set up where the churches will be getting the pigs.
“I’m getting them from where I always get them, a family farm in Wilson,” Joyner said. “My baby brother Malory and me have been cooking pigs and chickens since we were little.”
The Joyner brothers have cooked in tournaments all over the state including the well-known venue of Spivey’s Corner.
“We do it for fun and for fundraisers,” Joyner said. “It’s something we can do to help. People love good old eastern North Carolina barbecue.”
The Momeyer Ruritan Club is donating slaw. Organizers are asking participating churches to donate other sides.
“I am a member of the Ruritan Club, and they have always been supportive of local events like the one we are doing,” Moore said.
Eastern North Carolina whole hog will be the main style of barbecue cooked and served. Most folks will probably be using a vinegar-based sauce, Moore said.
Participating churches include First Baptist of Spring Hope, Gold Valley Church of God of Prophecy and Peachtree Baptist Church. Moore said he’s talking with another area church, trying to get its members involved.