HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – One boxed food drive is so needed that its donations are getting swept up before the drive even really gets going.
When church volunteers at Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church arrived Saturday morning to finish last-minute preparations for this month’s Boxed Food Giveaway, Pantry Coordinator and Caring & Sharing Ministry Coordinator Cassandra Pitts said the church parking lot was already packed with people in need, hours before the drive started.
“We already had at least, I guess, 50-75 cars already in line,” Pitts said.
The church pays for the food out of pocket, and what the church does not purchase, volunteers rely on donations from local grocery stores.
To keep cars from clogging the road, volunteers started this drive early, about an hour before the scheduled start time. The 200 boxes of food they prepared were all given out in less than an hour. Each box contains enough food to feed a family of four.
Despite news of the pandemic beginning to slow, people in the community are struggling as much as ever, according to Pitts.
“It breaks my heart because there’s a need and I’m thankful to the Lord that we’re able to do it, but at the same time there’s just such a need in our community,” she said.
The church started hosting free food giveaways like this one regularly since they learned the toll COVID-19 had taken on community members.
“They were calling saying they needed food. Our pastor and our leaders said we have to do this. So we’ve been doing this since May,” Pitts said.
Pitts said as soon as they finish one giveaway, they immediately start prepping for the next, even giving away items for next month’s drive to those who need it now.
“We have people still coming [today,]” Pitts said. “So we have someone out there asking them, ‘Can you make it until Monday? Can you make it until tomorrow?’ And if they say, ‘No I cannot, I need food right now,’ then we are going to go and buy food and get them food today.”
Pitts said no matter what, the church will continue to be a beacon on the hill to help those struggling for as long as they need help. The next Boxed Food Giveaway will be October 24th at 8:00 am.