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Faith, Food, and Football

Football season is busy for coaches and players. Long days and late nights can be very exhausting. For retired football Coach Leroy Riley, he has spent the past few years trying to offer some uplifting for coaches and players during the season. Riley retired after 24 years of coaching and went into the ministry. As a way to give back to a sport he loved and spread a little faith, Riley has been organizing a meal for both Colleton County High School football team and Colleton Prep Academy football team sponsored by local churches. The meal is sponsored by churches within the community, who prepare a hot meal for players after practice. A devotion is given to players who volunteer to listen, followed by the meal. According to Riley, “It’s a good time for them to just relax and have a time together besides practice. It is also an opportunity for them to grow spiritually. All the churches come together and do their part to make it possible.” Riley coordinates with Coach Peeler (CCHS) and Coach Garnell (CPA) to organize the meals, along with local churches. For local Pastor’s, this is an opportunity to do a little community outreach. Pastor Daryl Erwin from Cottageville Baptist, along with other church members provided one of the first meals of the season. “Being a Pastor of a church in Colleton County, I was so excited to hear that Coach Peeler wanted churches to provide a meal and devotion for the football team,” Pastor Erwin explains, “In the world in which we live today, I am convinced that we need more Jesus, not less. So for our church, it was an exciting opportunity that we definitely wanted to be a part of. Having the chance to fellowship with, and study God’s Word with the football players and coaches, was a tremendous honor and privilege. Not only did we get a chance to meet a physical need, but we also got to meet a spiritual need. The young men on the team were so polite and appreciative, and they were very attentive to the devotion. I believe the more we can share the Good News of Jesus Christ, the more people will realize that He really is the answer to any question we may have. And if we can get young men and women turned onto Jesus, they will have the chance to change this world!” Bedon Baptist Church was also one of the first churches to host a meal, also for CCHS, and Pastor Eric Bjork said their greatest impact was geared toward the youth who attended. “Bedon decided to participate in feeding the Cougars because it is vital for the church to go beyond the walls of the building and into the community,” Pastor Bjork said “In particular, we want youth in our area to know that they are loved and respected as human beings. It is our privilege and joy to feed these outstanding young men and their coaches. Go Cougars!” Churches who are participating this year in hosting a meal are: LifeSong Church, Cottageville Baptist Church, Bedon Baptist Church, Living Word, Refuge Church, Doctors Creek Baptist Church, Bethel United Methodist Church, Saint Center Ministries, Saint Jude’s Episcopal Church, Smoak Baptist, First Baptist Church, Wesley Chapel United Methodist, Pine Grove Baptist, Black Creek Baptist, Jones Swamp Holiness Church, Pleasant Grove Baptist, and Salem Methodist. Any church who may be interested in hosting a meal may contact Riley by email at coachleroyriley@gmail.com

Amye Stivender (65 Posts)