As Tammika Jones prepared to leave O’Fallon Community Park on a sunny day, her children Anthony, 11, and Teyla, 8, carried little pillows, on which the children used glue glitter to write “I love Jesus.”
Tammika Jones also received a couple bags of free groceries.
“We’ll get fed for a little while,” Jones said. “We got some good stuff in here.”
Tammika Jones and her children were part of estimated 3,000 to 4,000 metro-east residents to come to the Convoy of Hope event at the park.
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People were lined up by mid-morning. The event included various tents where people could receive job search and career assistance, have family portraits taken, get haircuts, get health screenings, and connect with community resources and veteran services, among other things.
Clint Walker, who is the student ministries pastor at O’Fallon Assembly of God, which helped coordinate the event, said there were more than 1,200 volunteers from more than 50 churches helping with the event.
“It’s really a huge day about blessing and being a handout of hope for people in the community in need,” Walker said.
Each person received a ticket for non-perishable groceries such as rice, ramen noodles and canned goods. Some youngsters even received school supplies.
Women’s shoes were donated to distribute to those in need.
For those who wished, there was a pavillion where people could pray.
Convoy of Hope, which is based in Springfield, Missouri, is an interdenominational organization that provides assistance to those in need.
“They’re all over trying to impact communities,” Walker said.
Because of the state budget impasse, Tammika Jones, an Illinois Department of Transportation employee, anticipates she will be laid off.
“It will be alright,” said Jones, who keeps a positive attitude, evident by her T-shirt that read “Choose Joy.”
Jones said she appreciated the event.
“It lets us know there is a sense of community, versus feeling so isolated and by yourself,” Jones said.
Rachel Shrum, of Bunker Hill, drove the hour with her sons Austin, 15, and Alex, 13.
They had pictures taken at the family portrait tent, because medical issues in Rachel Shrum’s life have prevented her from having family pictures taken.
“That made my whole day right there,” Shrum said. “I haven’t had pictures since my kids were very little.”
She even made sure each of the pictures was just right.
“I have a lot of medical issues, and I want those pictures for my children,” Shrum said.
“I think it’s a great thing for all of the community,” Shrum added. “I think it’s just wonderful, and great folks do this to help all the folks in need.”