Three years ago, Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown, Pa., bought a pellet smoker and asked long-time employee Dave Howe to learn how to use it.
“After a couple of months of moving the smoker between work and home (and people telling me what I was smoking tasted so good), I decided to go ahead get a mid-sized one for myself at home,” recalls Dave. He, with his wife, Becky, and family, attends Gateway Grace Church, Parkesburg, Pa. (Scott Feather, lead pastor).
Now he has two commercial-sized pellet smokers, plus the original one he purchased, and he’s using them to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
“It is also a way for us to give back to Him because of how He has blessed us,” says Dave, who wears multiple hats at the orchard, which is a destination for homegrown produce and events near Lancaster County and Reading, Pa. (He lists his titles as garden center manager, the wholesale fulfillment manager, the food concessions director for the orchard’s festivals, and manager of the frozen meat department and he frequently sources locally grown produce, flowers, and meat for the market.)
During the Covid-19 pandemic, he’s been smoking chickens and distributing them to those in need, including 40 to a food pantry in New Holland, Pa., for families in the local school district. He prepared another 82 that he asked families from Gateway Grace Church to distribute to families in need.
He says that it’s all about being the hands and feet of Jesus.
And, it’s something he’s been doing since before the Coronavirus changed the world.
“I don’t see it as a business,” he stresses. “It’s more like a ministry. It truly is about blessing people with great BBQ and more!” When he caters an event for family or friends, he charges the cost of making the food and lets the person decide what he or she can give as a donation.
He doesn’t just prepare chicken, he also barbecues pulled pork, ribs, brisket and more, he says.
“I have so much,” he exclaims. “This was one way I could help others with the love of Jesus! I’m just trying to bless as many people as I can,” he adds.
“I love what Dave’s service illustrates,” says Scott Feather, lead pastor at Gateway Grace. “He looked at his passion and gifting, opened his eyes and heart to the needs around him, and then said, ‘how can I empower and equip others to meet needs around them?’ Dave’s example is one that can easily be followed, your passion and gifting may not be food, but I’ll bet it is something, and that someone can meet a need in others around you.”