The Mac & Bob’s parking lot was filled with members of CommUnity Church in Salem for an afternoon service on April 28. While Pastor Tom McCracken spoke through the loudspeakers, congregants ordered lunch from their cars. The purpose of the gathering, said the pastor, was to show the local restaurant that they are not alone amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been said that ‘people don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care.’ After weeks of encouraging our congregation to support our local restaurants through curbside takeout and delivery, I felt like we could do more,” Pastor McCracken said. “This idea was a win-win. We are engaging our community with the love of God, meeting practical needs to help those around us and are using our greatest resource, the people, in a biblical manner.”
Restaurants have been especially hit hard by shutdown orders. While dining-in is currently not an option, Mac & Bob’s is offering carry-out. Co-owner Bob Rotanz is overwhelmed with all of the support he has received. “The Salem community never ceases to amaze me. Plenty of restaurant options exist throughout the area so we are extremely honored when people decide to spend their hard-earned money on us,” he said.
Before Pastor McCracken spoke on April 28, Community 3, the church’s in-house music group consisting of Jerry Atkins, Sandra Booth and Steve Coble, kept the momentum going by performing a few songs. Throughout the service, church members honked their horns as Pastor McCracken broached a variety of topics. More than $900 in donations was collected.
Dean Dorothy has attended CommUnity Church for years. Because she is retired, Dorothy hasn’t been impacted financially by COVID-19. That doesn’t mean the same can be said for her friends and loved ones. “It doesn’t cost any money to be kind to each other. With everything going on today, we need kindness more than ever,” she said.
Last Tuesday wasn’t the first time that CommUnity Church held service at a local parking lot to raise money for restaurant staff. Recently, the same gesture was made for Mamma Marie’s. The goal is to continue this model once a week at different restaurants all over Salem.
“We absolutely are planning to do this with other local restaurants in our communities,” Atkins said. “Any opportunity to share our love for others and the everlasting love and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ is a welcomed opportunity for us.”