The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 31, 2013

Convoy of Hope to visit Aug. 17

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

— All of southern West Virginia is invited to a Day of Hope.

Everyone — all ages and religions — will be served when the Convoy of Hope stops in Beckley Aug. 17 to set up free grocery distribution, refreshments, medical and dental services, job placement services, haircutting stations, live entertainment, family portraits and a children’s carnival.

Convoy of Hope is a Missouri-based non-profit organization that focuses on feeding the hungry. Convoy, a first-responder organization in disaster relief, has fed more than 55 million people around the world since it was started in 1994, according to its website.

The goal of the organization is to “deliver much-needed food, supplies and hope to the impoverished and suffering.”

Around 750 volunteers from area businesses, churches and community agencies are assisting Convoy of Hope crews in bringing the services to the community.

The Convoy truck will bring 35,000 pounds of groceries which will be distributed free to people who need them.

The event will be held rain or shine at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia’s Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex. No identification is required and distribution will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Day of Hope was facilitated by John Jordan, Convoy coordinator and pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Beckley.

“This is too big for one church to do,” explained Jordan. “It had to be a community effort from both the faith-based and community agencies to make something like this happen.”

Jordan said he’d heard of Convoy of Hope when it started in the mid-1990s and was impressed by how the group responded to natural disaster victims.

He said that for the next decade, he talked to Convoy representatives “on and off” to try to get them to Beckley.

“I obviously do feel like there’s a physical need, a natural need in the areas of groceries and different things we’re going to be offering,” said Jordan. “That kind of need has always been and always will be evident in our communities, probably.

“I feel like even beyond that, though, (Day of Hope) has the opportunity to change the spiritual atmosphere of our community, to see the church come together and lay down our doctrinal differences and denominational banners and say, ‘Hey, let’s work together to show the community that the church as a whole is alive and well and that God really does love people.’

“This gives us an opportunity to show the compassion of Christ.”

Last fall, Convoy representatives contacted Jordan and told him they’d like to serve southern West Virginia.

“This was the first time they’d initiated it from their end, so I thought maybe the Lord’s doing something here.”

Jordan said he reached out to several local pastors, including pastors Jason Lowe (Faith Community Church), Vondie Cook (CrossPoint Church of God) and Doc Adkins (First Baptist Church) and leaders of community agencies like Women’s Resource Center, Birthright and others.

“It seemed like doors started opening, and things started falling into place,” said Jordan. “I’m excited, not only for the churches, but to see the community organizations and agencies come together.

“Under our community services tents, we’re up to 18 different agencies.”

Dee Sizemore, public relations, fundraising and development coordinator for Women’s Resource Center, said Day of Hope opens doors to her organization.

“One of the best ways to serve victims is to network with other groups in our community, and this will be a great day to network and to reach out into the community with our services,” said Sizemore.

Faith Community Pastor Lowe said his faith led him to get involved with Day of Hope.

“The Bible is clear that God has called us to care for those in need in our community, and He has called us to be in unity, which the Day of Hope represents through bringing churches and community groups together,” stated Lowe.

Community leaders and businesses may contact Jordan by phone, 304-252-0717, or e-mail, pastor@outoftheboxchurch.org for more information.

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com