By JOHN HOWELL What is the message of Hope Day, held Saturday at the Veterans Middle School, where an estimated 100 volunteers from eight churches gave out boxes of food, hot lunches, washed windshields and brightened spirits with some lively music and
What is the message of Hope Day, held Saturday at the Veterans Middle School, where an estimated 100 volunteers from eight churches gave out boxes of food, hot lunches, washed windshields and brightened spirits with some lively music and impromptu dancing?
Matthew McIntosh, pastor of Warwick Hope Assembly of God, had many answers.
“It tells the community we’re here for them,” he said, taking a pause in his role of Hope Day coordinator.
“It shows the church is a positive force, that churches work together without being territorial … it brings in people who wouldn’t go to church.”
McIntosh said there were no strings attached to the event, or to the chicken dinner being held June 19 at Warwick Hope Assembly of God, 425 Sandy Lane. Two Sisters for Good, based in Cranston, will cater the dinner starting at 5 p.m. Those attending Hope Day were extended an invitation, but the dinner is open to others. Those interested are asked to make a reservation by calling the church at 732-0634.
This was the third annual Hope Day. The first was held on the Oakland Beach ball field and included information and services from a cross section of nonprofit organizations in addition to free lunch, entertainment, food and free shoes. With the pandemic, Hope Day last year was a drive through held at the Oakland Beach branch of the Warwick Boys and Girls Clubs.
This year was also a drive through with 40 and more cars lined up in the school parking lot before swinging around in front of the school where volunteers greeted them with lunch bags followed by a stop for a box that included a gallon of milk, fresh produce, meats and non perishables.
Planning for the day started in November with meetings beginning in January. Food boxes were made available by the Elisha Project and fresh produce by the Convoy of Hope. Five hundred boxes of food and 750 lunches were provided.
Norwood Baptist Church parishioner Dan Gagnon was on the lunch front line handing out hotdogs straight from the grill and wrapped in foil. He was calling them “tube steaks.”
Gagnon saw Hope Day as a relief from the pandemic for recipients and volunteers. “They need this,” he said, “there’s so much bad going on in the world. We can do a community event that lifts people.”
In addition to the Warwick Hope Assembly of God and the Norwood Baptist, the Cranston Christian Fellowship, Crossroads International Church of Attleboro, Faith Baptist of Warwick, North Kingstown Assembly of God, South County Church of Christ and the Victory Assembly of God in Providence helped stage Hope Day.
McIntosh called the unity between churches “commendable.” He said people were grateful and that he received only positive feedback from those people helped and the volunteers.