Wesley Chapel UMC Offers Up God’s Love One Plate at a Time

Members of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church serve up lots more than barbecue, camp stew, and all the fixings during their annual community-wide fundraiser. They also provide hope, healing and love to children in need.

Proceeds from the annual Fall BBQ, which the church in Enterprise, Alabama has hosted since 1947, have benefited the United Methodist Children’s Home for 71 of the past 72 years. “The first time they had it, the money went toward their education building,” said Dan Baughman, pastor of the church, which averages about 75 members each week. “Every year since, it’s gone to the Children’s Home.”

Wesley Chapel UMC’s BBQ fundraiser has provided approximately $10,000 for vulnerable children and families each year.

The BBQ, which raises about $10,000 a year for the ministry, is a wonderful way for the church members to work together for the common goal of sharing God’s love with the children and youth in UMCH’s care. “This church has a real heart for children, especially children in distressing situations,” Baughman said. “It’s part of our DNA, and this is one more way we can make a difference.”

Church members start preparing on Friday afternoon before the Saturday event, and the youth group has a lock-in that night so they can lend a hand. The children help decorate bags and about 45-50 adults help with cooking and serving. That’s a pretty tall order, considering they sell about 1,000 plates piled high with barbecue, hash, camp stew, rice, coleslaw and white bread.

Dr. Blake Horne, President and CEO of UMCH, has attended the event for the past several years to share about the Children’s Home and its important work.

“Everyone knows why we are doing this, and I think that’s what has helped this take such seed in this community,” Baughman said. “It’s really everybody working together, and it looks like
a picture of the kingdom of God. It’s all ages, all walks of life working together for this one thing. It’s awesome.”

Supporters Take to Facebook with Fundraising

The widely popular social media platform, Facebook, receives both praise and criticism.

However, among the long list of pros is one function that has significantly aided children served by the United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH). Since made available to UMCH in November 2019, many supporters have used their birthdays as opportunities to benefit kids in UMCH’s care.

“The birthday fundraiser is a selfless act of kindness that we would not expect but are regularly receiving now,” said Rebecca Morris, Senior Vice President of External Affairs. “The fact that anyone would redirect the attention most of us enjoy receiving on birthdays toward vulnerable children, who often go under the radar, is simply remarkable and selfless,” she added.

Facebook is generous in its administration of the birthday fundraiser capability as well, waiving any administrative fees for the transfer of funds. For charities such as UMCH, a contributor’s entire gift goes directly to the charity benefited. Prompted by an appreciation for the care UMCH provides vulnerable kids, Alex Alewine set up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook to benefit UMCH ­— the first one hosted since UMCH acquired approval for the function.

“I think the Facebook fundraisers work because they reach so many people, and a lot of people can give just ten dollars, and before long you have a fair amount of funds you’ve raised,” Alex said. “My husband and I believe that it is the Church’s responsibility to serve the needs of our communities,” she added.

“This is a ministry we feel good about donating to, we see that the needs are there, and we think UMCH is meeting those needs.”

Photo Caption: Alex Alewine and her husband, Hank, are passionate supporters of the United Methodist Children’s Home.