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Mississippi church spreads good will across the ocean to Baghdad


STARKVILLE, Miss. — It made Sherrill Bennett feel good, to help prepare a shipment of clothes and medical goods destined for civilians in Baghdad.
Bennett, the preacher at Lone Oak church in Steens, worked alongside several people from his congregation as he stuffed 24 boxes into two U-Haul trucks at the intersection of highways 50 and 373 Monday morning, despite 90-plus-degree temperatures. He, his wife, Suzanne, and Kathy Cadden then drove the trucks to the Air National Guard facility in Jackson. The boxes are scheduled to make a layover stop in Germany on Friday and arrive in Baghdad on Sunday.
Cadden, director of the joint organization Operation Ukraine, which has been making such shipments of humanitarian aid regularly for eight years, had asked the Bennetts to help her with this most recent effort.
Sherrill Bennett was glad to provide his assistance.
“There’s a book in the Bible, Galatians 6:10, and, of course, it says we’re to do good to all men, and that’s what we’re trying to do, send this to the needy people of Iraq,” Sherrill Bennett said while on a break.
“Of course,” he added, “it makes us very thankful for the blessings we have in this country.”

Thiswas his first time participating in an Operation Ukraine shipment. Butin coming days he and his congregation also will help assemble ashipment for Ukrainians.

As Suzanne Bennett walked through theOperation Ukraine warehouse, she named several things the Baghdadshipment includes: winter clothing, brand new shoes, walkers, crutchesand canes.

“We’ve got a whole gob of Tommy Hilfiger flip-flops,” she said. “That’s what they use in Iraq, right?”

Theproducts — valued at about $100,000, according to Suzanne Bennett —originate from disparate sources. Cadden picks up hospital linens fromBaptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle and food-quality heavy-dutybuckets from the Sqwincher plant. A delivery company drops off hospitalbeds if their boxes become damaged. The charity Soles4Souls offersshoes. The goods add up and create metal and cardboard mountains in thewarehouse.

Then Cadden and other volunteers ship the goods to people who wouldn’t otherwise get them.

“Becausethe Bible says that we’re supposed to take care of the widows, theorphans and the sick,” Cadden said when asked why she makes theshipments.

A hand-written message on one box stating “Hello from Mississippi” illustrates another justification for the shipments.

When people in other countries find out their source, Cadden said, “They’re gonna have a different attitude about Americans.”

Asticker on each box states, “Donated by Churches of Christ” in Englishand Arabic, which exemplifies an added benefit of the shipments: Theyare “introducing them (receivers of the shipments) to Christians,” whopeople in such countries as Iraq might not have ever encounteredbefore, Cadden said.

And then there’s the personal reward.

“The more I’ve given, the more and better stuff that I’ve received,” Cadden said.

Filed under: Staff Reports Top Stories

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