Area churches unite to again provide free food for residents

Pastors Steve Schwartzkopf and another pastor prepare to load a box of produce during a produce giveaway in Gering. Local churches and Convoy of Hope came together to give produce away on a first-come first-served basis.

A food giveaway on May 29 was such a big success that area pastors have scheduled another for Thursday, July 2 from 9 a.m. to noon in the former Albertson’s parking lot on Avenue B in Scottsbluff.

Pastor Kiley Callaway of Northfield Church in Gering said the event isn’t about any one pastor or denomination, but about the church as a whole coming together to bless the community.

Pastor Tyson Lambertson of the Rock Church agreed.

“We’re uniting pastors and churches together to become the larger church to become better together. “We see this as an outreach to the community and share the love of Jesus with them.”

The local pastors’ group had been meeting weekly via Zoom teleconference to discuss ways they could help the community facing a coronavirus pandemic.

Lambertson had a contact with the Convoy of Hope, a faith-based humanitarian group that helps communities in times of disaster.

On May 29, a Convoy of Hope semi loaded with about 850 prepackaged boxes of fruit and vegetables rolled into Scottsbluff.

“It went over so well that Convoy of Hope wanted to send two more trucks,” said Pastor John Mulholland of Westway Christian Church. “We’re getting another truck of prepackaged produce as well as a truck with 40,000 pounds of potatoes, so we’ll have a lot of food to give away to help meet people’s physical needs during this difficult time.”

The May 29 food giveaway was in the parking lot at Paul Reed Construction in Gering. Mulholland, who was helping direct traffic, said it was backed up north to the river bridge and south almost to the railroad tracks in Gering.

Organizers are hoping the move to the Albertson’s parking lot will provide more space and keep traffic at a more manageable level.

“In this time, I think God is creating a movement in the hearts of the pastors to unite like we’ve never united before,” Callaway said. “Our hope and prayer is that even after the pandemic is over, we’ll continue to unite on future projects to help the community.”

There are no restrictions on who may receive a box of produce. It’s free and first-come-first-served as long as the boxes last.

“People loved to see how many of the churches in the area gathered to work together and not expect anything in return,” Mulholland said. “They thought it was awesome to see pastors from different backgrounds and denominations serving our community.”

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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