By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — Members of the First Baptist Church have been busy filling Christmas food baskets thanks to the support of Anytime Fitness and its members.
Friday employees of the fitness center, located in Cherry Tree Plaza, gathered up the $2,200 collected through member donations and a membership match program and did a little shopping.
"Every month Anytime Fitness does a 'Pay it Forward'," said Misty McDonald, club manager. "In November and December we always do bigger projects and we chose Jubilee Christmas and the First Baptist Church Christmas baskets."
This year was the first for the church, that hosts a food pantry each Monday and Thursday, to do 80 Christmas baskets. Connections and other members of the congregation helped to identify those in need this holiday season. "This is our way of sharing the love of Christ with others," said Tim Baxter, pastor at First Baptist.
"Tim, is actually a member here at the club and we thought this was a great project to help with," said McDonald.
Originally, Baxter said that Anytime Fitness had agreed to provide one pound of hamburger, bread, milk, hot dogs, and bologna for the 80 baskets. But when McDonald was trying to get a deal on the 80 gallons of milk, a club member alerted her to a coupon for free milk with the purchase of four boxes General Mills Cereals. "Since we got the milk for free, we were able to purchase a lot of other items instead."
The Anytime Fitness staff purchased so many items, they were able to fill the church bus from floor to roof not once but twice.
"Anytime was really generous in partnering with us. This was such a great thing," said Baxter. "Their staff was so excited about helping with this. The best way to sum up the partnership between Anytime Fitness and First Baptist is, 'Every good and perfect is from God'."