|Drive-through food fair helps those in need|
|Written by Chris Case|
|Friday, 01 June 2012 19:19|
Feeding those who need it has become more than just a mission for the Cuba Ministerial Alliance (CMA). It is a labor of love.
The CMA continues to expand its generous food offerings to the community in need. While the Cuba Food Pantry continues to operate behind Cuba City Hall, the ministerial alliance is always looking for ways to expand its ability to serve the needy of Crawford County. Drive-through food fairs are one of the ways that the CMA has continued to touch more lives.
The alliance hosted its fourth drive-through food fair in late March. The drive-through food giveaway event was held at the parking lot of Calvary Assembly of Good Church. A total of 27,600 pounds of dry food goods were collected, organized, and doled out to local families in need, who drove away with trunkloads of items to fill their pantries and kitchen cabinets.
Nearly 200 families participated in the March 27 food fair—and it didn’t cost them a penny.
Pastor Don Martin of Cuba Free Will Baptist Church serves as a lead organizer in putting the fairs together. He said the food—all 27,000 pounds of it—is furnished gratis by the St. Louis Food Bank, trucked in on pallets that are then organized in a factory-style assembly line to be given away station by station. Food vouchers are issued to needy families through the Cuba Food Pantry, which is operated through the CMA by Bobbi Jopling and a host of willing volunteers.
It takes a lot of manpower on the day of the drive-through giveaway. The families with vouchers show up at the prescribed pickup time and location with a cleaned-out trunk that can be loaded with goods. Volunteers are needed to help distribute the goods properly and in an equal manner.
Registration takes place on the day of the food fair at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and pickup is at the Calvary Assembly of God, which is located nearby.
All of the food at the March 27 distribution was given away in about a two-hour period. There were fresh carrots, cabbage, potatoes, onions, apples, pears, bread, green chilies, sweet potato fries, potato chips, Gatorade, juice packs, popcorn, fruit cups, yogurt, cereal, canned corn, snack bars, and more given out that day.
Pastor Martin said it was a blessing from God that the CMA is able to help people out in such a way, especially in the hard economic times that we have experienced in recent years.
Twelve local churches are currently members of the CMA: Anointed Faith Tabernacle, Calvary Assembly of God, Change of Heart Worship Center, Covenant Praise Church of God, Delhi Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Free Will Baptist Church, Holy Cross Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Trinity Chapel Presbyterian Church, and United Methodist Church.
The ministerial alliance appreciates the help of those volunteers and organizations that help make the food fair such a success: the St. Louis Food Bank for supplying donations and delivery, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Calvary Assembly of God Church for the use of parking lots and facilities, Bobbi Jopling and the crew from the Cuba Food Pantry, and the 35 volunteers from area churches who helped make distributions.
“The volunteers worked hard,” said Pastor Martin, “but they had a great time, and there were numerous comments from the recipients of how much they appreciated the efforts that were made.”
The Cuba Food Pantry & Clothes Closet operates weekly. It is open on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon for food and clothes, and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon for food items and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for clothes.