As local residents continue to struggle to put food on the table, the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church reached out, Sept. 28, to lend them a helping hand. Partnering with ALIVE (ALexandrians InVolved Ecumenically), the church distributed free groceries to 1,400 families in the community.
The 2nd annual Feed the 5,000 service project provided the families with enough food for a week. The Alfred Street Baptist congregation supplied eggs, produce, cereal, rice, fruit, potatoes, baked beans, and peanut butter and jelly, among other foodstuffs. Families also received frozen whole chickens.
Participants picked up bags of groceries at four locations across Alexandria. The project is based on a Christian story of a miracle where Jesus Christ fed 5,000 people with two fish and five loaves of bread. The heart of the account addresses sharing resources and meeting the immediate needs of those who lack.
Feed the 5,000 is the vision of Alfred Street’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, who just celebrated his fifth pastoral anniversary. “It is imperative in times like these that we remember those who hunger in our communities,” he said. “We must feed 5,000 and even 5,000 more to fulfill the mission of God given to us.”
The event helps spread the love of Christ by providing food and letting the community know that the church cares about them, said Darryl Howell, director of the project. “This will have a tremendous impact on our community. Nearly one in 10 Virginians live below the poverty level, according to the Virginia Poverty Task Force,” Howell said. “Behind every statistic, there is a story. We are trying to help provide some relief and assistance to our community and turn some of those stories around.”
Project managers worked closely with the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) to identify families that qualified for federal assistance. Applicants were required to register with a local DCHS office or at Alfred Street Baptist Church prior to the event.
The Alfred Street Baptist Church is located in historic Old Town Alexandria, VA and has served the community for over 200 years. For more information, go to www.alfredstreet.org; www.facebook.com/AlfredStreetBaptistChurch, or follow Alfred Street Baptist Church on Twitter @AlfredStreetBC.