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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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