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Behind the scenes of a U.S. Convoy of Hope outreach

By Kirk Noonan

Up to 50 times each year an enormous production — staffed by hundreds of volunteers and supported by dozens of organizations, corporations and individuals — rolls into impoverished areas throughout the nation and delivers a message of hope.

The events — simply known as Convoy of Hope outreaches — are daylong gatherings where guests of honor receive free groceries, haircuts and health screenings. They are also invited to take part in job fairs and to network with local nonprofit organizations and government agencies that provide a wide range of services. Guests of honor are also given an invitation to connect with many local churches and accept Christ as their Savior.

For more than a decade Convoy of Hope and the Assemblies of God have partnered together in an effort to wipe out poverty and give people a hand up.

While visiting a Convoy of Hope outreach, it would be easy to miss everything that goes into its preparation and all the activities taking place at these well-orchestrated events. Here’s an exclusive look behind the scenes of outreaches held in the United States.

TEAMWORK:

An average of 1,000 local volunteers serve 3,000-5,000 guests at each outreach — although many outreaches have exceeded 10,000 guests. The largest event took place in Dallas, where nearly 20,000 people received help.

UNCONDITIONAL SERVICE:

 At each outreach every guest is valued, respected and treated as a guest of honor. In other words, every guest is unconditionally loved and accepted regardless of their age, income, race, physical appearance or spiritual condition.

EMPOWERED PEOPLE:

Convoy of Hope mobilizes, resources and trains churches and other groups to conduct community outreaches, respond to man-made and natural disasters, and direct other compassion initiatives in the United States and around the world.

FOCUS ON PARTNERSHIPS:

Working with other organizations, businesses and groups allows Convoy of Hope to reach hundreds of thousands of people each year.

NETWORKING:

A fleet of 18-wheeler semi-trucks transports food and supplies to and from Convoy of Hope’s 300,000-square-foot distribution center in Springfield, Mo. Virtually all of the food Convoy of Hope distributes is donated by corporations, grocers and farmers.

MUSCLE POWER:

In the U.S. alone, more than 200,000 volunteers have helped Convoy of Hope distribute more than $100 million worth of food to more than 26 million people in need throughout the world.

FUN & GAMES:

At each outreach children are treated to a Kids Zone where inflatable playgrounds, carnival games and treats such as cotton candy are always free of charge.


KIRK NOONAN is managing editor of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.

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