SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Charlotte Spanish Church Shifts Into High Gear to Help Keep Community Fed During COVID-19 Pandemic
If you are driving south from the Carolina Conference office in Charlotte on Harris Boulevard on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you will likely come upon a long line of cars in the right-hand lane. These cars are waiting to pull into the Charlotte Spanish Church for assistance from their Adventist Community Services, which is continuing its hard work in distributing groceries and other items to the community.
A shopping cart load of basic necessities is distributed to each family utilizing an efficient drive-through system that uses nearly their entire parking lot space.
Part of what keeps this well-oiled machine churning is the church’s vibrant youth involvement. Brian Gonzalez, a youth volunteer and member of the church, comes at 7:00 a.m. to help unload the trucks carrying donations to the church from the Second Harvest Food Bank. Then he assists other volunteers in unboxing and sorting the groceries in the church’s fellowship hall/gymnasium. From there, other workers place an assortment of items into a line of shopping carts ready to be taken to the cars waiting outside.
In 2019, the church received acknowledgment for distributing the most food out of all the groups that work with the Second Harvest Food Bank, which has 700+ agencies in 19 counties.
For years, a large number of people from the community have come to the church to receive basic necessities. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number has doubled. With the addition of face masks and the change to drive-through only, the church has shifted into a higher gear to meet the greater need.
Brian Gonzalez has been helping with the food pantry since January. He says that what keeps him going is the sense of satisfaction when people express their gratitude.
“I would encourage people to volunteer,” Brian said. ‘It’s a good feeling.”
The assistant director of the church Community Services, Guadelupe Montoya, says, “A lady texted me and she said, ‘I really appreciate everything the Seventh-day Adventist church is doing, because I get everything I need.’”
“We distributed 1.4 tons of food in 2019,” says Julio Flores, pastor of the Charlotte Spanish church. “They gave us a small trophy. Truly, our Adventist Community Service here has left a good stand on behalf of the gospel and Seventh-day Adventist church.”
What better way could there be to present such a wonderful witness, than to meet the needs of others? It’s a testimony for the local and global church, but also for the gospel of Jesus.
—by Chevon Petgrave