LUTZ, Fla. - During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for food grew in the Bay Area. Many people are still unable to find work, making simple things, like groceries, hard to come by. That's why Idlewild Baptist Church has made it their mission to make sure their community doesn't go hungry.
Over the past six months, the church has been able to feed thousands of families through donations and partnerships. However, on Sunday, they doubled their efforts, handing out 4,000 boxes of food in just one day.
"Our church quickly realized that food was something that the community was going to need, and soon enough the community started reaching out to the church with help for food," said Yerusha Bunag, the mission’s director at Idlewild Baptist Church.
"We want to bless our members, but mostly we want them to bless others- whether it's a neighbor in need, a senior citizen that's near them, or a family that they know that's lost their job or are struggling."
After Sunday's service, church-goers were encouraged to stop by one of the three food distribution locations on the church's campus to pick up some food. The boxes were filled with fresh groceries including fruit, meat and dairy. The instructions were simple: take a box for yourself, and take more to give to someone who may be in need.
"We're collecting the boxes, and maybe we can feed people and feed their soul at the same time," said Sue Garner, who stopped by to pick up four boxes after service.
The church wants the boxes of food to spread the message of hope while also meeting the need of hunger. With hundreds of cars lined up and waiting for boxes after each of Sunday's services, Idlewild Church's congregation was eager to take part in helping the community.
"It just makes you feel wonderful that you can share love and share joy and just make somebody else happy," said Garner.
Bunag told FOX 13 that the day's event was more than just a food drive, but it was about reminding the community that even during the hardest of times, a smile, a hug and a helping hand are only a phone call away.
"It's not just 'here's a box of food.' No, it's 'here's my phone number, here is where I go to church, here's the church's phone number, and we want to help,'" said Bunag.
If you need assistance or can offer assistance, visit https://www.idlewild.org/ for more information.