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TAYLORVILLE — Taking it to the Streets is the latest give- back campaign by Crossroads Apostolic Ministries. On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, Crossroads held their first parking lot party at Hillcrest Park on East Park Street from 6:00-8:00 PM. In collaboration with Hillcrest Park’s owner Brad Tullis, Crossroads provided free hot dogs, chips, and drinks for all who ventured to the party located on the large lawn between the entrance and exits of the park. In addition to the meal, a large bounce house was available for the children present, as well as various yard games for youth and adults. In a time when people are still feeling a little isolated or disconnected due to the ongoing pandemic, providing a fun and safe outdoor gathering for the residents of Hillcrest Park felt like a step back toward normal.
Crossroads Apostolic Ministries (CAM), a church located on the corner of Routes 48 and 29 in Taylorville, strives to support the Taylorville community. These conscious efforts significantly increased when the tornado roared through Taylorville on December 1, 2018, leaving many residents injured and without shelter. Curtis and Jessica Franks, newly appointed pastors at CAM, immediately contacted the American Red Cross to see what the congregation could do to help. Their offer resulted in the sanctuary and fellowship hall of the church being repurposed for a shelter by the Red Cross team. In the weeks to come, after the shelter was no longer needed, the congregation of Crossroads continued to supply meals to families affected by the tornado, as well as regularly feed Team Rubicon, a disaster response team of 20+ retired or inactive military men and women who traveled to the area to oversee relief efforts.
After supporting additional rescue teams who traveled to the area, plans to continually bless the community were developed. Pastor Franks describes the efforts by his congregation by stating “What began as a desire to help our community in a tremendous time of need has continued to grow into a willingness to always be a blessing to our neighbors through the events and outreaches we now regularly have. This is a way that Crossroads can come to the community. We would love to have people join us for service, but we are also willing to come to them.”
In the years following the tornado relief, community-focused efforts continued through the partnership with the American Red Cross with scheduled blood drives. In addition, Pastor Franks began to regularly share needs he learned of in the community through his participation in the Taylorville Ministerial Association. The church worked to address these needs through donations and food drives, while also focusing on first responders and healthcare providers in the community as COVID-19 surged in the area.
A desire to support families and children expanded the church’s reach by offering free activities at Easter and Halloween, as well as drive- through meal nights where the community could pick up hot meals for their family at no cost. Even then, leadership at Crossroads continued to look for ways to connect with and give back to others. Tracie Johnson, a member at Crossroads explains, “Rather than asking people to come to us at CAM for a hot meal or a fun family activity, we began dreaming of ways we could give back by traveling instead to where people were. Taking It To The Streets, our planned series of parking lot parties in Taylorville neighborhoods, resulted from our desire to branch out and serve in new ways.”
After the free event concluded at Hillcrest Park on Wednesday, leftover meals were delivered to Shadow Home, Taylorville Police and Fire Stations, and the Christian County Jail. Crossroads continues looking for opportunities to give back, and plans to continue the Taking It To The Streets Campaign with additional parking lot parties scheduled throughout the fall.