There’s Hope

Area Churches Partner with National Organization to Bring Inspiration to Community

Convoy of Hope, a national charity organization, partnered with area churches to host the one-day event that provided free groceries, haircuts, food and prayer to more than 10,000 local residents

More then 80,000 pounds of non-perishable goods and condiments were distributed to needy families Sunday as they packed the RFK Stadium parking lot.

Johnathan Shrader, a spokesman for Convoy D.C., said the one-day weather delay at the bequest of Hurricane Hanna did not deter the turnout from residents or volunteers. He said Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security personnel said “‘you should cancel the event.'” But the Convoy went forward.

Joel Schmidgall, a pastor at National Community Church in Washington said about 100 organizations, including over 60 churches, came together for the event.

“Our vision as a group of churches in the D.C. area is to come together and be a blessing to this community,” he said. “We are trying to find some people who need some hope in their life.”Some visitors who had taken the step to come out to the event, found themselves turning back before ever entering the Convoy. Visitors waiting in lines in excess of 45 minutes to get onto the grounds. “I thought I was doing something by getting here in the 8 o’clock hour. But, I wasn’t because I was like a mile back. It really didn’t take long once the line actually started moving, to get in,” said Rollins.

With that message of hope, the Convoy helped its visitors with a variety of services and fun-filled activities. A kid zone, portrait area and a performance stage were just a few of the activities attendees and their children took part in.

And, amid a national economic downturn, a job fair tent was well-received. Volunteers helped to generate resumes, provide interview tips and guide visitors to interview tables. “I think this is a good thing they did for the city,” said Chantel Rollins a Southeast resident. It’s a lot of good networking going on here.” Among the recruiters was Skip Barrett, from the Metropolitan Police Department, who sought the next generation of District law enforcement. ” We’re seeing tons of people, tons of traffic,” Barrett said. “Many of them are District residents; that’s even better.” The event, which was nine months in the making, brought together members of area churches to volunteer their time in service. “It’s a one day catalyst were we hope we can give a little bit of hope, a little bit. To get people to take that next step where they can be who God has designed them to be,” said Schmidgall. For many, the Convoy of Hope, did just that, brought hope to a down trodden community facing hard economic times. “It was good to me,” said Marilyn Summerfield a Northwest resident.