The Guiding Light Baptist Church's summer feeding program has won statewide recognition.
Over the summer, more than 1,000 meals were prepared at Guiding Light and delivered to local seniors and children in need. That hard work earned the church the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Celebration Commission of Missouri's distinguished community service award.
"The Guiding Light Baptist Church is a ministry focused on learning and living in the word of God," explained a statement read during the statewide MLK celebration. "We saw a need and came together with the members of the community to meet it."
Pastor Charles R. Jackson credits the community.
"It was the community that came together and supported it," Jackson said. "The church was just the location."
Jackson came up with the idea to start a sack lunch program while shopping.
"These two little girls were trying to figure out what they were going to have for lunch," he said.
But the children only had enough money for one bag of chips for lunch. That image stuck with him, Jackson said.
To address the need, members of the community began meeting at Guiding Light to help address hunger in the area. The volunteers put together sandwiches, getting the word out to those who could benefit from a free meal.
The sack lunches were delivered to seniors, children and families across the community.
"They nicknamed me the 'sandwich man'," Jackson said. "It was so heartwarming to see."
Jackson said the church will likely bring back the sack lunch program in the future.
"The community knows we really appreciate their support and all of the help," Jackson said. "They are the ones that did all the hard work."