Annual cookout unites Myrtle Beach community

Published: Aug. 13, 2023 at 10:20 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - An annual cookout was held Saturday, inviting the entire Myrtle Beach community to come together.

It started with small annual gatherings for church picnics spanning over 15 years, but within the last three, Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church wanted to take serving and engaging the community to another level.

“Since the pandemic, we haven’t really had time to come out and actually fellowship, but with our pastor, we’ve realized you can’t just serve within the walls of church,” said Terrence Middleton, a Myrtle Beach resident.

The Grillin’ and Chillin’ with the Grove community cookout fed over 200 community members along with fun the whole family could enjoy.

“Well at Sandy Grove, we want to be a one-stop shop,” said Pastor Shawn Johnson of Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church. “We want to be able to meet any need of anybody. And that’s our M.O., try to be outside the walls making an impact in everybody’s lives.”

Vendors like children’s book author and Sandy Grove member Mike Gammage were also in attendance.

Gammage highlighted the importance of writing books for children of color, showing them key roles in his new book “The Dreamlighters Go To Space.”

“It explains to children, there’s more to going to space than just being an astronaut,” said Gammage. “So we’re going to introduce them to being an engineer as well as being a meteorologist. We introduce those things to them, we show them that those supporting roles are just as important as those top roles everybody seeks out.”

Community leaders were also there with backpack giveaways and other useful tips for those soon entering the classroom.

“Seven percent of African Americans are ready for kindergarten when they walk in the kindergarten door,” said Richard Williams, the Early Childhood Program Manager of the United Way of Horry County. “So we’ve partnered with the basics and developed basics Waccamaw, and it’s basically five principals and tips we can give our parents off the bat to get their children ready for kindergarten.”

Pastor Johnson invites the community to Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist church every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. to experience the “Grove Nation”.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.