In the fall of 2007 he had vision to share with the people of God. The vision of Churches Outreach Network was born. It is focused on the people in the community, especially those who were not part of the body of Christ, and those who were not attending a church. We provide a network of community referrals, resources, assistance and help to those in need. In our opinion many people who were in the Church building were either already saved or on their way to being saved, and that left out the people who did not know Jesus, or how to find out about him. Churches Outreach Network outreaches in the community through a network of community leaders that are Pastors, Ministers, Organizational leaders, or businesses. We network together as one ministering the word of God, or fellowshipping together at events. We are a public nonprofit 501 © 3 organization. Through Churches Outreach Network several ministries were birthed including The Inter-Faith Clergy based on Pastors, Ministers and Community leaders meeting and coming together once per month to address the needs of the community and the Community Action committee by working with law enforcement and faith based organizations.
James Stewart Hooker: CFOC Program Coordinator
Jim Hooker relocated to Greenville, NC with his wife Maureen in 2011 after living and working for 36 years in the Washington, DC area. He completed 20 years of service in the Navy in 1980.
Since his arrival Jim has been engaged in several efforts to improve the welfare of the local community and its residents. These include identifying and feeding the hungry, especially children and senior citizens; and, providing oxygen therapy for veterans who have suffered traumatic brain (TBI) or post traumatic stress (PTSD) injuries.
In 2015 Jim and the Kiwanis club of Golden K undertook a study to determine who in the community was hungry, where they lived and how best to assist these families. This work led to the understanding that approximately 25% of the children living in Pitt County were routinely hungry. These hungry children are identified by successfully applying to the federally funded CEP program (often referred to as the free school lunch program). This CEP program is operated through Pitt county school system principals, social workers and guidance counselors.
In 2017 the Community Feeding Our Children (CFOC) program was initiated under the leadership Pastor Rodney Coles, President of Church’s Outreach Network (CON), with Jim Hooker as the program coordinator. CFOC’s mission is “To maximize the effectiveness of resources including churches, schools, charity’s and other community businesses and organizations to directly impact children’s hunger, especially at those times when hunger is most prevalent.”
In pursuit of the children’s hunger issue the following was determined:
- ~ 11,000 Pitt County school children participate in the (CEP) program.
- The CEP program operates for children while they are in school and excludes weekends.
- Food Bank and Feeding America data indicate that NC ranks the 8th worst of U.S. states in hunger, and that Pitt County ranks ~ 10th of 100 counties in the number of its residents who are “food insecure."
The backpack program (BPP) is the only means available to feed identified hungry children in the community. This is accomplished through the CEP application and approval process and further refined by the identification of these children by teachers, social workers, and counselors.
This BPP provides food to children when they are not in school on weekends and holiday periods (Easter, Christmas & New Years). The BP’s are resourced, packaged and distributed by churches to schools who utilize social workers or guidance counselors to distributed the food to the identified children. Parents must provide prior approval of the food distribution to their child.