Loris First Presbyterian Church (LFPC) held its first fish fry fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. prepared to feed more than 200 people who prepaid for their tickets and held hope for more to come enjoy a meal for $8 a plate.
Early risers gathered to prepare the white fish, fries and green beans. Andy Zink, a member of the church, organized the fundraiser asking volunteers to help batter the fish and fry them up for a great meal. Zink ordered 120 pounds of whiting, 110 pounds of French fries and 160 pounds of green beans preparing for a large crowd to come eat.
This fundraiser will help the youth with their mission trip to Birmingham, Alabama, in June. Callie Osment, one of the youth, said that the group will travel in three vans to churches in Birmingham where they will help build houses, make repairs to homes and provide childcare services. She said, “We will be spreading the word of God as we help people who need our help.”
This past fall the youth group had a pumpkin patch selling pumpkins to help fund this mission trip. They have raised the funds to make the trip; each youth attending will pay $75. Ron Barron, the youth director, said there are 17 youth and four adults scheduled to make the trip to Alabama June 23 – 28.
The fish fry was not just for the youth to go on a mission trip. The money is divided and will go toward the church’s project for Operation Christmas Child. Each year the church and the youth gather items to place in shoe boxes; they gather toys, tooth brushe’s, Bible verses, sanitary items, shoes and much more. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the church and monetary donations are appreciated to help send the boxes to areas across the world.
A steady flow of people came to the church to pick up their meal with some who stayed to eat meeting others who came. The Rev. Dr. Timothy Osment welcomed guests as they arrived shaking hands and making them feel welcome as Paula Zink sold tickets and checked off the prepaid tickets giving a warm welcome to the guests. Louisa Schreiner, a foreign exchange student, and Ahmari McCullough-McLean offered desserts for a monetary donation for carrot cake, chocolate cake made by Libby Marquardt and cupcakes and brownies made by Libby Zink.
The youth who helped in shifts were Anna Anderson, Aubrey Anderson, Ava Anderson, Landon Coleman, Luke Elliott, Joseph Flesch, Matthew Josephs, Callie Osment, Daniel Osment, Gannon Sarvis and Raegan Soles. Isaac Barron, too young to be part of the older youth group, was excited to help take dinner boxes to guests.
Thirty men from the church helped with cooking the fish and fries. The six kitchen workers who filled boxed meals were Jennifer Anderson, Nancy Barton, Libby Marquardt, T. Moise, Frances Nain and Pam Richard. Barton was in charge of the sweet tea and pink lemonade.
Barbara Fowler and her husband Ronald prepurchased tickets and ate with family, Anthony and Claudia Fowler, enjoying a bit of conversation and speaking with the youth who served them their dinner. Barbara said, “We came to support the youth of the church, we don’t attend this church, but we heard about it through our minister at Loris First Baptist Church;” she continued, “we believe in supporting the youth and the community.” She said, “We fellowship and meet people in supporting our churches working together. We have a wonderful community.” Claudia reiterated Barbara’s comments and said, “Christ is in us all.”
Two young adults, Zachary Parnell and Courtney Dew, read about the fish fry on a shared Facebook post and traveled from Tabor City to purchase tickets and eat at the church; they carried out 4 extra boxed meals. Parnell was filled with stories of relaxing while fishing and wanted to support the youth and church with the purchase of extra meals to take home.
Barron stated that 12 high school age youth and two adult chaperones will travel to Lake Junaluska, for the North Carolina Conference and Retreat Feb. 15 – 17. He said they will attend worship workshops. Afterwards they will spend a day skiing. Each person pays $100 of the $250 per person.
Keeping the youth busy, attending activities that are interesting and giving them roots in Christ is the motivation of the youth pastor at LFPC. The youth work well together and encourage one another to maintain being active in attendance.