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Churches team up to feed hungry for Christmas

In a combination Christmas Eve meal, fellowship service, clothing ministry and gift giveaway, more than 200 people were served by volunteers from 11 Rock Hill churches Saturday.

The Christmas program at Flint Hill Baptist Church has been going on for many years. But in tough economic times, the outreach to the needy was needed more than ever this year, said Alice Ann McClurkin of Flint Hill, an organizer of the annual event.

"We just want to give blessings to people who need them," McClurkin said.

The people who came included many of the regulars who receive food from Flint Hill's hunger outreach program, and others in the surrounding south Rock Hill neighborhood. Participating churches included St. Matthew AME Zion, Cornerstone Presbyterian, Woodland Presbyterian, Eastview Baptist, Second Baptist, St. John United Methodist, Westminster Presbyterian, Grace Lutheran, Epiphany Lutheran, First Presbyterian, and Flint Hill Baptist.

All guests were treated to music, prayer, and all they could eat, served sit-down style by volunteers of all ages.

John Clowney, grandfather of University of South Carolina star football player Jadeveon Clowney and a member of Flint Hill Baptist for decades, helped dozens of others with the food.

"It is an honor to help other people," said John Clowney.

All the food was donated by volunteers from the churches.

Some volunteers delivered meals to The Haven homeless shelter, and to shut-ins who could not come to the church.

A pair of teenagers, Ryan Allman, 18, from Grace Lutheran, and Frank Sugameli, 14, from Epiphany Lutheran, loaded a truck to deliver meals.

"I am proud to help," said Allman.

And after all the food was served, youth members of the churches handed out Christmas presents to their guests.

Flint Hill senior pastor, the Rev. Cedric Maddox, told all in his fellowship hall, including many strangers, that it was an honor to serve them.

Then before all left, Maddox told the people who had come to his church, "Come back any time. Come back for Christmas services. All are welcome here."