Pandemic Provision: Church Meets Needs through Food Distribution

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Give Life, Southeast, The Way

By Carl Stagner

Facing school closures, empty shelves at the grocery store, and employment uncertainty, communities everywhere find themselves needing both hope and help. Oak Hill, West Virginia, is no exception. Jones Avenue Church of God, under the leadership of Pastor Mike Hicks, weren’t waiting for the first case of COVID-19 in the state to be confirmed. A couple days before the unsettling statistic, on Monday, March 16, the church sprung into action to offer free meals to the community.

In partnership with a faith-based organization, CODA Mountain Academy, Jones Avenue Church has since been offering dinnertime meals every weekday from the drive-through convenience of their parking lot. While other churches in the community have mobilized efforts to offer lunch, Jones Avenue opted not to duplicate efforts.

“[CODA] prepares the food in their kitchen,” Mike explains, “and we transport it to our location. We put the meals together in our kitchen. People drive into the parking lot and volunteers carry out the number of meals needed for each family.”

The meal distribution begins at 5:00 in the evening and ends at 7:00. Consisting of a hot main course, dessert, and a bag with snacks, fruit, and drink, the food distribution efforts of Jones Avenue Church of God are surely meeting a felt need.

“Over the first three nights alone, we served 378 meals,” Mike recounts, “and even more we have shared smiles and kindness with people who are stressed and uncertain about how long schools will be closed and work schedules disrupted.”

Keeping things safe and sanitary, the volunteers are taking the necessary precautions in the work they do. But they also aren’t willing to suppress the love of God in their hearts to do the good works providentially planned for them (Ephesians 2:10).

“We are doing this because we believe it’s what Jesus would do,” Mike explains. “We have an opportunity to be God’s church, not just attend a service and never interact with the community. As a pastor, I am so proud of the volunteers who are helping each evening. It is amazing to be a part of a team of people who are all about loving and serving in the name of Christ.”

Learn more about response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including resources for you and your church, at www.jesusisthesubject.org/theway.

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Photo: Vehicles lined up six rows deep for food distribution in March at Hope.