Church helps feed the hungry

By CLAYTON C. WALSH
CORRESPONDENT


             For the second straight week, 200 helping hands got busy in FOL (Festival of Life) on a Saturday morn­ing, aiming to give a boost to disadvantaged families in Philadelphia.
        
             Volunteers gathered early at Calvary Full Gospel Church as part of a larger effort organized by Jonathan Shuttlesworth and Revival Today of Oakdale, Pennsylvania, who organized the sec­ond annual Festival of Life in the Kensington section of Phila­delphia scheduled for Sunday evening.

       "This is a part of the Revival Today event. He's hosting, and we have the volunteers," said Jackie Zayas, who led the effort.

          With 2500 boxes of rice, pasta, snacks, sports drinks, baking goods, cereal, oatmeal and the like boxed and headed out to the festival as give­aways, volunteers were arranged into an assembly line while unloading an 18-wheeler delivering the food, breaking down pallets ,filling the boxes for delivery and disposing of packaging.

    Joey Nieves -Markee, who helped lead the charge, said he was enjoying the opportunity to serve for the second-straight year.
   
        "We get to help meet their needs, so this is a great opportu­nity," said Nieves-Markee, busy flattening boxes   for disposal.

        "It is a great opportunity to serve, especially down in the city for people in need ," he said.

       For Zayas and her husband Carlos, both team leaders at the food drive, the effort an extension of Carlos ' 14-year friendship with Shuttlesworth, with whom he went to Bible school back in 2002. Pulling together 100 people to pack food at this scale takes a lot of time, effort and resources, but knowing their sup­port adds to Revival Today's and their friend's growing impact in underprivileged communities around the country helps pro­vide the fuel to make it all hap­pen locally.
    
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"A lot of people just show up. Most are from CFGC, and some from other local churches, but come from Bethlehem, Pa.,Philadelphia, and some New York," said Jackie.
               She said Shuttles­worth's effort and ongoing support from non-profit Feed The Hungry , which donates and ships trailer loads of food out of warehouses in Indiana. Combining Revival Today's growing evangelical popularity with donations of this size is allowing Revival Today to expand its efforts nationally. Last year's event took place in Philadelphia' Nicetown section, and there was another in June in Vineland, New Jersey. With three already set for next year, Revival Today' impact is expanding, and Zayas is happy to be a part of it all.
       
         "We've been friends (with Shuttlesworth), and when he wanted to do something like this he asked if we could help out," said Zayas.
         
          "This is to show people that other people care, and that there is hope no matter what situation they are in," she said.

                The end result is all 2,500 boxes being packed by 170 vol­unteers over two weeks and distributed along with another $20,000 in donated giveaways including money orders, gift cer­tificates and TV to many of the 6,100 people expected to attend the Festival of Life at 7 p.m. Sun­day at the McVeigh Recreation Center in Philadelphia .

                Festival of Life is a commu­nity event for families, bringing music, games and a message of hope to a growing number of cit­ies aroundthe country.

According to the organizers in FOL(Festival of Life), having so many local hands on call to make the church's end of things click has made things much fluid.

         "The turnout has been great," said Nieves -Markee. "These
vol­unteers have been very willing to serve."


Correspondent Clayton Walsh can be reached through editor Christina Krts1ollc alckristofic@calklns.com
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