In Prince George’s County, Maryland, food and vaccines were given away Sunday afternoon in an effort to help those still struggling during the pandemic.
“It’s a wonderful, beautiful thing,” said Ricky Neal, who was driving through the Food 4 Thought food giveaway at the Hemingway Memorial AME Church in District Heights.
He was picking up one of more than 300 available bundles of food.
The event was combined with a COVID-19 vaccine clinic inside the church.
“It’s very well needed,” said Tracy Simpson, church administrator at Hemingway Memorial AME. “There are a lot of families out here struggling nowadays.”
Simpson said all three vaccines and boosters were available for anyone who needed them. People were able to pick up food or get a vaccine — or both.
“It’s just a blessing for those of us who have survived the pandemic to be here and be able to do what we’re supposed to do to make things better,” Simpson said.
There was a steady stream of cars picking up food and a waiting room with people ready to get coronavirus shots.
“A beautiful atmosphere so you can come get your shot and some food for your pantry,” said Cheryl Hatcher Williams, who said she was feeling good after getting her booster shot at the event. “The opportunity to have the vaccine easily available is good for the community.”
Donovan Benton, co-founder of Food 4 Thought, said seeing the volunteers come together to hand out food was amazing.
The Delta Zeta Zeta chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority and the Omega Psi Phi fraternity were there handing out food alongside members of the church and the community.
“There’s no limits. I mean it could be one car but it may be representing eight families and we’re going to take care of them,” Benton said. “It really is humbling seeing folks living in their cars and struggling. The food insecurity has always been there but it got exacerbated during the pandemic.”
Rev. Gerald Folsom, senior pastor with Hemingway AME Church, said the church wants to reach everyone struggling in the area. He wanted to make sure everyone knows they can just pick up food, just get a vaccine or both at the event.
“Neither are tied to one another,” Folsom explained. “This pandemic has taken a toll on the people. We didn’t just want to do one thing.”
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