The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 6, 2014

Convoy ready to help one of its own

By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer

Thursday, February 6, 2014 — The Christian Cooking Convoy has a raised a lot of money by providing benefit dinners for those in need over the years.

Now it will reach out to one of its own.

Melvin Burris, longtime member of the Convoy, was diagnosed with lung cancer late last year.

Doctors have now told him his condition is inoperable and likely terminal.

“We know he’s going to have a lot of medical bills with this,” convoy member Jerry Barbee said.

“Barbecued chicken benefits are what we do,” Barbee added.

“We’re going to help him out.”

They will have a benefit chicken dinner 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Feb.7 at Barbee’s Grove Baptist Church.

Plates are $8 each and delivery is available for orders of five plates or more.

Tickets are on sale through the church and those interested in delivery can call (704) 438-3500.

“After the Convoy decided they wanted to do this, they came to us and asked if we would sponsor it,” Phillip Smith, pastor of Barbee’s Grove Baptist, said.

“We were happy to say yes.”

Not only is the church close to Burris’s residence, but his sister is a member there.

“So we know the struggles he’s facing,” Smith said.

“The congregation has already shown a lot of support. We’ve had lots of volunteers,” he said.But as a smaller church, they could still use more help, he added.

They are looking for other churches to help sponsor the event.

“Overall, we’re shooting to serve at least 2,500 plates,” he said.

“That’s a good sum for us.”

But Smith is sure the help will come.

“Christ says in Matthew 25 that when you give a drink to the least of these, you do it for me. When you’re doing something like this for someone who needs it, you’re doing it for Christ and I think people recognize that.”

Garry Hamilton, a family friend, said Burris strives to live by that standard himself.

“He’s worked his whole life, been good to the community,” he said.

“Everybody around town knows him.”

“He’s a down to earth,  simple, country man,” Smith added.

“Not a lot of flash, not big on being front and center. Really the picture of a true Stanly County country man.”

Hamilton said he has done the best in the circumstances he’s been given and the challenges he’s faced.

“But sometimes people just need a little help,” he said.

Those interested in assisting with the benefit or ordering dinner plates can call the Barbee’s Grove Baptist at (704) 485-4210.

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at