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In south Florida, churches aid families struggling during COVID-19 economy

A Parkridge Church volunteer loads food and water into a car during a recent Food for the Poor distribution hosted by Parkridge Church of Coral Springs, Fla., and supported by five other Southern Baptist congregations.

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (BP) – In the middle class neighborhood of Parkridge Church, cars lined up an hour before opening to receive nonperishable food to help them survive the lingering economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers of new church plant Our Destiny Church participated in a recent food distribution at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Fla.

“We’re in a neighborhood that’s pretty middle to upper-middle economics, and yet even here there is a need,” Parkridge Church Senior Pastor Eddie Bevill said days after the June 5 event. “People came. The line was formed. We opened the doors at 8 a.m. I got here at 7 and the line was already formed.”

The church counted 375 families among those accepting the food provided by the interdenominational Food for the Poor relief ministry and supported by volunteers from six Southern Baptist churches in Broward County. World of Giving donated the supplies to Food for the Poor, the relief ministry said in a press release.

About 75 people stayed for prayer and the Gospel during the drive-through event, and a few accepted Parkridge’s invitation to Sunday worship.

“They thanked us and just … reiterated that while things are certainly getting better, financially people are still trying to get their feet up under them, some people are, and so every little bit helps,” Bevill said.

The southeast Florida church is near the Broward County – Palm Beach County line. Southern Baptist congregations supporting the effort were Cross United Church of Lighthouse Point and four congregations that meet at Parkridge – Chinese Baptist Church of Coral Springs, Parkridge Korean Church, Iglesia Comunidad de Parkland and Our Destiny Church, a new plant.

Iglesia Comunidad de Parkland Pastor Domingo Arias prays with a woman who received goods during a Food for the Poor distribution hosted by Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Fla., and supported by several Southern Baptist congregations.

Domingo Arias, pastor of Iglesia Comunidad de Parkland, told Food for the Poor it was “a great honor to talk to people about the Word of God, not only giving them food but also helping them to grow spiritually.”

Jacob Lee, pastor of Parkridge Korean Church, a Parkridge Church plant, told Food for the Poor the event provided a wonderful opportunity to work with other churches in helping families.

Bevill described the lingering financial slowdown as “a mixed bag.”

“On the one hand, I even have personal friends who have lost their jobs and are kind of trying to start over again,” Bevill said, “but at the same time the offerings of our church have been up. So there are some factors that seem counterintuitive, but at the same time we definitely see those who are struggling.”

It was the second distribution Parkridge hosted in cooperation with Food for the Poor with the support of Southern Baptist congregations. The August 2020 distribution included mainly household goods donated by Food for the Poor ministry partner Matthew 25: Ministries .

“We just want to be postured and ready to help when we can, and when there’s a need,” Bevill said. “I feel like if every church in every community is doing what they can with what they have, then that makes a difference, and people appreciate that.”

Alvaro Pereira, FFTP executive vice president for church alliances, expressed gratitude for the churches’ support.

“The Lord has called us to work together and serve the community,” Pereira said.