By Wendy Holdren
Day of Hope started out with goals of 750 volunteers, 3,000 guests and 35,000 pounds of donated food, but just after 1 p.m. Saturday, those goals were exceeded.
Nearly 1,000 volunteers came out to support the Beckley Day of Hope at the YMCA Paul Cline Youth Soccer Complex, and over 3,150 people participated in the event.
The event provided free food, as well as medical and dental services to anyone who was in need.
Pastor John Jordan with Calvary Assembly of God got in touch with Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to help communities meet physical and spiritual needs, to coordinate the event.
“I’ve had a desire and a dream to do this for 10 years,” Jordan said.
“It’s been an amazing, surreal and incredible experience.”
He said “you have to be blind” not to see the need in the community.
“It’s not just Beckley, it’s everywhere. People are having hard times across the board.”
He said all the people he had the privilege of speaking with were very appreciative and thankful for the Day of Hope.
“We thank them, too — they’re the whole reason we’re here.”
The Wallace family certainly had a fun-filled day, as they were all smiles after having a family portrait taken.
“We heard about the event through our church,” Todd Wallace said.
His wife, Rachel Wallace, and their kids, Neighla, 10, and Heccakyah, 8, enjoyed coming out and spending some quality family time together.
“It’s great to have fun, to see diversity and to see everybody come together,” Wallace said.
The kids especially enjoyed the “Kids Zone,” where they played in the bounce house, slid down the slide and even got their faces painted.
The event was filled with local volunteers from 15 churches and a host of various businesses and organizations, but one young volunteer hailed all the way from South Africa.
Fresh out of high school, soccer player Dundas Clark said he is staying with an American family in Daniels while he works with Convoy of Hope.
“It’s always nice to serve and to work with kids,” Clark said.
“It’s wonderful to serve Jesus.”
Over 750 people took advantage of free health services offered at the event — everything from dental and vision screenings to mental health and diabetes education.
Wes Dangerfield and Pastor Jason Lowe helped organize the medical staff on site Saturday.
Sam’s Optical offered the eye screenings, Beckley ARH and FMRS provided mental health education, and dentist Dr. Greg Harvey and Dr. Brett Eckley were on site for dental screenings.
Local LPNs were also on site to offer their services.
“We feel from a church perspective, that’s what were here to do. We’re here to help,” Lowe said.
“There are so many volunteers, so many physicians, and it’s great to see them volunteer their time.”
Dangerfield added, “It’s a tremendous blessing.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org