The Well hands out over 10,000 pounds of food during drive

Published 8:36 am Friday, June 14, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Hopewell Baptist Church in Clanton held a mobile food drive on June 13 that handed out over 10,000 pounds of food to those in need in the Chilton County community. Over 20 volunteers came together and donated hours of their time to help solve hunger in their communities.

“We like serving the community, and it helps a lot of families in need,” Pearl Varner, church member and event organizer, said. “We think we are doing a good job as far as getting people to come out … We just want to be there to help the people.”

Held every three months, Hopewell Baptist Church, also known as The Well, holds this type of mobile food drive. The food is free of charge, and all people have to do is show up, and The Well volunteers will take care of the rest.

Boxes full of fresh vegetables and fruits, nonperishable food, drinks and more were prepared after an 18-wheeler dropped off the load of food weighing in at more than 10,000 pounds. The boxes were filled to be able to feed a full family, and cars began lining up on the church’s front lawn for the 9 a.m. event as early as 8 a.m. By 9:30 a.m. just before volunteers began handing out food, the lines of cars were four rows deep across the lawn. Hopewell Baptist Church pastor Larry Sailes said this food drive was one of the smaller ones they have had, and they extend normally into the afternoon till around 2 p.m. as people continue to come throughout the morning and early afternoon until all of the food is given away.

“There is a tremendous need in the community, and the people that come to receive the items, they are so appreciative of what we are doing,” Sailes said. “This is our way of showing Christ in our life, by reaching out and being there for our brothers and sisters in the community. That is what we do.”

Hopewell Baptist Church started the mobile food drives in December 2019, and it all started because of the need Sailes and the congregation saw in the community. The church connected with the Montgomery Area Food Bank, now known as the Heart of Alabama Food Bank, and the church acts as a middle man to get the food out into the community.

“It makes me feel so good when people say ‘Thank you for doing this for us,’ because we do not have to,” Varner said. “I like serving the community … We seriously need things like this because the community really needs this here. We only do these every three months, but when they come out, it makes us so happy.”

In the end, around 100 cars made their way through the mobile food drive.

“It is a desire of mine (to help the community), and as a pastor, a lot of the time we are more focused on the inside of the walls and what is happening in internal aspects of the church,” Sailes said. “My focus is more on the community. Even though the church is doing well, when my community is not doing well, we are not doing well either. This is just one aspect we can do to make sure they are well.”