Servant-leadership was on the menu Thursday night in the small town of Philadelphia, Miss., where a fundraiser drew area pastors and other church leaders to wait tables at seven local restaurants.
In what was its seventh annual event, CPC Pregnancy and Family Resource Center raised over $15,500 in a five-hour stretch—all of which will go toward the center’s ongoing services that include limited ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, parenting classes and material aid for expectant mothers.
For a town just over 7,000 in population, the fundraiser has been an effective way to stay connected within the community, executive director Pauline Karcher said.
“It’s a win for us any which way it comes,” Karcher, who is in her fourth year as the center’s director, said. “It’s a way for us to be out and visible in the community. It’s a way for our pastors to be connected with us because it gives us a chance to reconnect every year with the churches.”
Since a little competition never hurts, Karcher and her center have created an honorary plaque for the restaurant that raises the highest dollar amount. This year, the proud recipient was Ronnie’s Steak & Grill, which brought home $3,800.
Though a plaque goes to the winning restaurant, the bragging rights get shared between the eatery and the local church whose pastor waited tables. Mike Skinner, a local business owner and pastor of Standing Pine Baptist Church, mentioned the opportunity to his congregation a few weeks before the event, and had 45 of his church members show up.
“We’ve made it competitive, and that’s what makes it fun,” Karcher said. “We’re a small town, so this is a big part of our budget. What humbles me about this is to see the community come out. It shows they appreciate what we do. That, more than the money, is what moved me about the evening.”
The center, which started serving clients in 1992, was in desperate need of an upgrade in the late 2000s, Skinner said. A fundraising effort at the time, in partnership with the local Baptist association, resulted in the organization’s current facility, which was fully paid off by the time it opened.
Just before re-opening its facility, CPC Pregnancy and Family Resource Center received a $20,000 gift to purchase an ultrasound machine, which is still in service today.
Shortly after the new location opened, Skinner and others put together the center’s first tip-based fundraiser.
“It was amazing that so many people came and participated” Skinner said. “It’s a wonderful ministry. Not only does the center save babies, but it also gives the mothers parenting skills, and it’s Bible-based. It’s just an awesome program. It’s so worthwhile.”