Charity effort offers food, services to city residents 80,000 pounds of groceries, and clothes are distributed

August 16, 1998|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

Nearly 3,000 Baltimore residents each were given two bags of free groceries and other services yesterday as part of a church charity effort called Convoy of Hope.

"I think it's nice," said Geneva Spriggs, who received baby food, toilet paper and Cheerios cereal at William Pinderhughes Elementary School on Fremont Avenue in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood.

"Things can get real rough. They got real rough for me last week, so this is just in time."

In all, volunteers gave out more than 80,000 pounds of nonperishable food and dozens of boxes of used clothes and shoes as part of the long-planned project. At the heart of the effort were some 600 volunteers from about 40 Assembly of God churches in Maryland, Virginia, New York and New Jersey.

Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit group, expects to stage 52 such charity events nationwide this year.

The Rev. Ivan Brooms of Sandtown Assembly of God said the offerings yesterday were generous but could not begin to fill the needs in the community.

"I came here two years ago, and I have seen much stark poverty and abject poverty," Brooms said. "You cannot preach the Gospel with any integrity unless you care for their basic physical needs."

Volunteers passed out hot dogs and cups of soda to residents who waited for groceries in a line that snaked around the school.

Before receiving groceries, recipients were offered free health screenings by volunteer physicians. Children were led to a playground.

Volunteers preached and sang -- offering messages of hope, renewal and faith.

One man, lugging groceries and donated clothes, left smiling.

"Have a blessed day," he told the volunteers.

Pub Date: 8/16/98

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