Maranatha Church members in Tuscaloosa, Ala., launched an initiative called “Tuscaloosa Feeding 500” on Sabbath, March 28, 2020. The goal was to maximize efforts while minimizing exposure — connect without contact. Divided into three teams of volunteers, methods were organized to “Pick it up, Pack it up, Pass it out.”
Tuscaloosa Feeding 500 was a collaborative effort of the community services and hospitality leaders. Rebecca Billingsley, community services leader, was responsible for the first phase, “Pick it up.” She worked diligently to prepare a menu for the initiative. Billingsley and four volunteers shopped for food, paper bags, gloves, and masks, and brought the items to the church.
In the second phase, “Pack it up,” Karen Moore, M.D., hospitality leader, and a team of six volunteers prepared sandwiches on Sabbath morning. Each sandwich was carefully packed with other food items and necessities. On Sabbath afternoon, the “Pass it out” phase began. The pastor organized a team for registration and distribution, while the community services team set up tables and filled the paper bags with Nutri-Grain bars and juice boxes, and then organized 100 bags per table. The registration data was collected at the entrance of the church’s parking lot, while the people held their identifications up to their vehicle windows. The vehicles proceeded to the mid-point of the parking lot to receive their bags, and then exited the parking lot on the other side.
Social distancing was maintained by having each car enter on one side of the parking lot and exit the other. As the members distributed the sack lunches, each vehicle passed through as a grab-and-go. As each bag of goodness was distributed, each car was filled with smiles and joy. The members thanked God for allowing them to meet the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Central | June 2020