‘Magic bars’ for hospital workers on the front lines

When the churches were closed due to coronavirus, a couple of youth members at Rye Cove United Methodist Church didn’t want to stop reaching out to the community.

Allison Vincent, age 12, and Lindsey Vincent, age 11, are part of a youth group that “absolutely loves to cook,” says their mother. Cooking has been a big part of monthly service projects for the Rye Cove youth in Duffield, Virginia. Their community Valentine’s Day dinner was a big hit.

On the first Sunday that worship was canceled, the Vincent girls didn’t let that stop them from doing church. They just went to the kitchen.

The Vincents are part of a family of medical personnel, so they are acutely aware of the hours and sacrifice service workers will bear during the pandemic.

Allison and Lindsey’s uncle is an emergency room nurse. Their father is a paramedic.

“They don’t know what they’re going to get. They just have to go,” said Rebecca Vincent, the girls’ mother, who is also a nurse.

Allison and Lindsey have begun a ministry of preparing and delivering platters full of home-baked sweets and other snacks for employees in hospitals, fire departments, police stations, and jails.

Lindsey and Allison with their uncle, Tony Dockery, an ER nurse

“It’s hard to be creative and to be sad at the same time,” says Rebecca. “I’ve baked cakes on the side for a long time, so they’ve grown up in the kitchen.”

Brenda Dishner, a Rye Cove church member, says the congregation and community are proud of the youth, and the workers on the receiving end have been blessed.

“They just wanted to show their appreciation for the work they do daily and especially in these times of uncertainty,” Brenda said.

Rye Cove United Methodist Church youth delivered treats to the Duffield fire department prior to the pandemic.

The cooking team is careful to wash their hands as they work, practice social distancing during deliveries, and to take other precautions, Rebecca said.

Out of all the goodies they bake, “Magic Bars” is the favorite of youth members and service workers alike, Rebecca says. “They’re kind of a twist on the old Seven-Layer Bars that you used to get off the Eagle Brand labels.”

Rebecca said she’s hopeful churches will be strengthened through the challenging times, as people find new ways to serve.

“The church can outlive this. ‘Church’ is a verb,” she said.

The Vincent family shared their recipe for Magic Bars, as it was published in their church cookbook:


1 ½ stick melted butter
1 ½ pack graham crackers, crushed
1 cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
1-2 cups shredded coconut
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

Pour melted butter in cookie sheet. Cover bottom with graham cracker crumbs. Layer chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut. Pour milk over top. Back 20 minutes at 350 degrees until coconut is brown.

Let’s share more stories like Allison and Lindsey’s story! You may reach me directly at annettespence@holston.org.

Magic Bars!

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