In an effort to raise funds and gather non-perishable foods for the food pantries at Emmanuel Baptist Church, pastor Heath Hillman, his staff and church members have partnered with Samaritan Ministries to hold a "Souper Bowl" party.
The party will be 5 p.m. Sunday, and everyone is invited to bring their favorite pot of soup to share while watching the Super Bowl on the church's big-screen TV.
"We are doing this to emphasize the hungry in our community," Hillman said. "Samaritan Ministries lost their facility, and we are allowing them to use our multi-purpose room for their food pantry Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m."
Hillman has been at Emmanuel Baptist since 2012. The church that was organized in 1953 has seen many changes and upgrades in the past 63 years, including having the spelling of the church's name altered twice.
The original church was formed from Halstead Road Mission to become Immanuel Baptist Church of Ocean Springs. At a meeting in 1953, the members voted to change the spelling of the church's name to Emanuel Baptist Church of Ocean Springs. In 1954, the spelling was again changed to its present Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Emmanuel has its own food pantry that is backed by the USDA. It is open at 9 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month and stays open until the food runs out. To receive services from the EBC pantry, clients must bring proof of residency and income.
Samaritan Ministries' guidelines are not as strict but does require pick up by the person in need.
Emmanuel Baptist also will hold a potluck luncheon after services on Valentine's Day.
Seder services will be held 6 p.m. Maundy Thursday, March 24.
"God has been very good to us," Hillman said. "We have a special mission here at Emmanuel to reach into our community to people who may not feel welcomed at other places. This is a very welcoming and loving body of believers," Hillman said.