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A local nonprofit received help from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which held their Sixth Quadrennial Evangelistic Retreat at Dorothy Walls Conference and Retreat Center in Black Mountain on Oct. 5 and 6. 

During the event's Empowerment Luncheon, Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry was the recipient of their community outreach project. 

The church collected hundreds of “blessing bags” filled with personal care items. These items are always needed for those coming to the Ministry. 

“When shopping for items such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and other essential personal care items, the cost is prohibitive for many of our working poor, those on fixed incomes, and our homeless," SVCM executive director Cheryl Wilson said. "These blessing bags will be used to bless our neighbors served daily at SVCM.” 

Renee Weaver, president elect of the SVCM Board of Directors, and lifetime member of Thomas Chapel AME Zion Church, helped bring this need forward to Bishop George Battle earlier this year. 

After learning of the ministry's mission in May, Battle expressed a desire for the annual retreat to support it. 

“This Ministry is the real deal," he said after learning of the organization's efforts. "I want the annual conference to be a part of it."

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