Oak Leaf church prepares to give big for the holidays
by Rebecca Johnston
November 16, 2013 12:37 AM | 1336 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Goodwin has been collecting cans of sweet potatoes for MUST Ministries’ annual Thanksgiving donations. MUST hopes to feed 1,000 families with this year’s collections.
Goodwin has been collecting cans of sweet potatoes for MUST Ministries’ annual Thanksgiving donations. MUST hopes to feed 1,000 families with this year’s collections.
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Will Goodwin, pastor at Oak Leaf Church in Downtown Canton, brings in another donation of canned sweet potatoes from his congregation on Thursday.
Will Goodwin, pastor at Oak Leaf Church in Downtown Canton, brings in another donation of canned sweet potatoes from his congregation on Thursday.
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Oak Leaf Church has raised more than 500 cans so far this year and hopes to hit the 1,000-can goal by Thanksgiving.
Oak Leaf Church has raised more than 500 cans so far this year and hopes to hit the 1,000-can goal by Thanksgiving.
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The church is working to collect 1,000 cans of sweet potatoes for the 1,000 baskets MUST Ministries in Canton is planning to give out to families for the holiday.

“One of our big partners in Cherokee County is MUST Ministries,” Goodwin said. “They do such an amazing job helping people with food, jobs, clothing and shelter insecurities and we want to help them during their biggest time of the year.”

Goodwin said the church offered to take on green beans and canned corn, but the folks at MUST said those items are easier to collect.

“In years past, we just brought and collected whatever, but this year they gave us a list, and at first we said beans and corn, but they said a lot of folks give that. So we chose sweet potatoes,” Goodwin said.

The church is collecting the sweet potatoes through this weekend, and Goodwin urged his congregation to grab some canned sweet potatoes when they went to the grocery store for their own families.

“When you’re preparing your family’s weekly menu, don’t forget the canned sweet potatoes. When you get in one of those competitive moods, see if you can bring more canned sweet potatoes than anyone else,” he urged his congregation of about 150.

Goodwin said the church enjoys reaching out and helping in the community.

“We do a big give every month where we focus on one particular thing,” Goodwin said. “We love to be involved in the community as much as we can and when asked we say we will always do something. If there is opportunity to help those in need in the community, we never want to say no.”

The church did the Great Grace Race in January where families and youngsters in the church have a bag with quarters, trash bags, thank you notes, gift cards and other items and hand them out wherever they see someone they would like to help.

At Easter, the church headed up an Easter Egg Hunt at the storefront in downtown Canton on Marietta Street where they regularly meet. The event attracted about 2,000 participants, Goodwin said.

In June the church congregation chose to help through SERV International, which does international missions and builds orphanages and wells in Kenya and other areas.

“The organization gives families a water bucket with filters, and we did a campaign to collect money to buy buckets,” Goodwin said. “We raised $2,700 and that went to help families in Kenya and the Dominican Republic.

In October, the church partnered up with the city during its Halloween event Oct. 26 and offered free hot chocolate.

“The kids were dressed in costumes, and we gave out candy and cupcakes,” Goodwin said.

That night the church did inflatables for Zombie Fest to benefit Cherokee FOCUS.

The non-denominational church started in Canton in January 2011.

Goodwin said he worked for Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, and the church started multiple video campuses; Canton was the first of those.

“The pastor asked me if I wanted to help and be lead pastor in turning it into a church,” Goodwin said. “We had just moved over here and fell in love with community, and we had decided we wanted to live here. And he asked me if I wanted to start a church, and I jumped at the chance.”

Goodwin said the church makes it a priority to help others, at the holidays and throughout the year.

“We help with those who need help at Thanksgiving,” Goodwin said. “We think the best place to start is our back door, and that is what we are doing.”
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