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Holiday barbecue benefits church ministries
Youth, adults pitch in at New Hope UMC
Alan Tolbert, right, and Michael Pickett entertain guests during New Hope United Methodist Church's annual Memorial Day barbecue. - photo by Autumn McBride

It was an early Saturday morning for some members of New Hope United Methodist Church.

But for nearly 30 years, that’s how it has always been for the annual Memorial Day barbecue.

"They started the fire at 4 o’clock this morning," said Martha Greene. "They’ve got about 500 pieces of chicken. And it’s good chicken, I think. I have to say that because my husband did the cooking."

Greene was busy packaging that chicken with potato salad, baked beans and a roll during the barbecue, which raises money for ministries at the church in northeastern Forsyth.

The annual event, which also included yard and bake sales, is sponsored by the church’s men’s club.

"We are helping the youth group pay for missions," said 11-year-old Grace Brass, while running around the event giving a sales pitch to visitors.

"We are going around asking for donations and giving out car wash tickets to raise money for our River of Life and missions. This is my first year being in youth group and I wanted to help out in our church and this is a really good way."

The River of Life program works to repair homes for families in need.

Christopher Patterson, also 11, was helping Brass sell tickets.

"It’s good for our community for everything to be all nice and clean, and also some people really need to have their houses fixed and they can’t afford it, so our youth group will just do it for them," he said.

Saturday’s event was the third for Celestine Thomas.

"The kids enjoy the yard sale," she said. "My husband plays the music. It’s just a fun way to spend the day. And the food is always good too."

Though she’s usually busy in the kitchen, Greene enjoys the fellowship.

"It’s a cooperative effort. Everyone contributes and does stuff so it makes it easy to work with your buddies."