It was well before dawn when the first people settled in to wait. Soon, others joined, and the line began to form in the dark and fog on that Saturday morning. It would be hours before the Food Pantry distribution started, but for many during this holiday season, the food was a necessity. Today would be the difference between a holiday meal with family or another day of making do with too little. Missing out was not an option.
Up the hill on the grounds of Tellico Plains High School, activity was also well underway. Compassion Ministries had organized this food distribution. Tables were being erected to form 2 lanes for the cars to pass through. The food was being moved from trucks and vans to tables, some pallets stored directly on the ground. Volunteers took up their stations and began to get organized for the flood of participants to arrive. These events don’t just happen. There is a lot of preparation and work involved. Workers move pallets of food into place, getting ready for the start.
By this point, the sun was up, and the fog had lifted. The line of cars wound down the hill from the school all the way to Highway 68 and then continued the shoulder of the road to near the junction with Highway 39. “Getting the highway cleared is my first priority right now,” declared
Robin Rolland, the organizer of this event for Compassion Ministries.
With the food preparation underway, Robin set her focus on the traffic. Two lanes were formed up the hill to the school. Then, a line of cars was set up to snake around the parking lot to free up more space. Finally, the traffic disruption was minimized.
The ramifications of the traffic jam were significant. This was going to be a big event, and a lot more people were going to be here than planned. “We might have to tell some people that they are welcome to wait, but we can’t promise them any food,” Robin told the volunteers. It was a worrisome situation, but it was what there was to deal with. The number of cars in line was much more than expected.
Right on time, Pastor Steve led the volunteers in prayer and the food distribution began. There were families piled into vans and mothers there by themselves. There were newborns, only a few days old, and quite a few folks that had lived many, many more years than that. Some that came
were healthy. Some were clearly not so fortunate. But they came and they came. Their numbers indicating the level of need in the community.
The smell of grilling hamburgers and hot dogs filled the air as Troy provided a good lunch for the volunteers. And as the cars moved through, the need to warn people that there may be no food left was delayed. Somehow, food was going further than planned. Empty food boxes began to line the drive. Empty pallets, previously stacked head high with food, were moved aside. The volunteers kept loading food, toiletries, diapers, and other
essentials into car trunks, pickup beds, and back seats. But at every check, it seemed there would be enough food to make it.
Volunteers from “Save The Babies” distributed over 10,000 diapers to mothers.
After over 3 hours, the line of cars had dwindled. Every single family had been served. The plan for 450 families had been well exceeded. By the end, 550 families had been provided for, enough food for about 2300 people. The food sufficed; the volunteers persevered. It was a day that exceeded all expectations.
Nobody predicted that so many would show, and it is such a true blessing that there was food for everybody that needed it. Robin summarized it, “The miracle of this day is the work and caring of the volunteers, Second Harvest of East Tennessee, Christ Covenant Church, Community Church of Tellico Village, and Church of Grace and Glory. Without the love and dedication of our partners this day would have been impossible. Instead, there are over 2,000 people with nutritious food. God’s hand was here today.”
South Knoxville Outreach - November 2022
On Saturday, November 18th, Compassion Ministries conducted a Mobile Pantry in South Knoxville serving 300 families. It was cold but it didn't stop the volunteers from Christ Covenant, Wallace Memorial Students, Grace & Glory Church, Lonsdale UMC, Matthew 35:25, United Healthcare, Free Clinics of America and the Compassion Ministry core volunteers. A special thank you goes out to US Bank & Elavon for the use of their Parking lot. Not to mention our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee which helps to make our outreaches possible. Good job to Save the Babies volunteers.
Philadelphia Elementary School - November 2022
On Saturday, November 5th, Compassion Ministries conducted a Mobile Pantry in Philadelphia, TN. Thank you for all the wonderful volunteers that came out to serve the community. Great group of servants. We had a rough start and everyone pitched in! Together we served 150 families. Thank you Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, Christ Covenant, Tellico Community Church, Troy Reid and so many more.
Florida Relief - October 27, 2022
On October 27, 2022, Compassion Ministries sent food and supplies received by donations to hurricane victims in Florida. Thank you volunteers and those that dropped off donations to fill these trucks. Thank you Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, Saddle Creek Logistics, Concord Christian School, and Bill & Lynn Malkes as the community came together to support this effort.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology - October 1, 2022
Compassion Ministries and Mission of Hope along with other ministry partners served over 450 families. New volunteers from Concord Baptist Church and others came out to serve the Scott County Region (Huntsville TN).
Thank you Second Harvest, Matthew 25:35, Save the Babies, Walgreens, United Healthcare and then many volunteers!
Announcing CHANGE is here... the big move has begun to the warehouse!
Mascot, TN - August 20, 2022
Another successful outreach at East Knox County Elementary, Mascot TN. We had the joy of blessing 180 Families. See below as we gave out food, some received flu shots from medical mobile trailer, our SavetheBabies program gave out diapers, wipes and infant clothing, Bibles. What a wonderful partnership with Second Harvest, United Healthcare, Walgreens, Troy & Jamie Reid, The Gideon's, and the many church volunteers from various churches. The body truly working together to serve a community in need. Blessings to all who gave of their time and talents to serve others.
Kentucky - August 4, 2022
Compassion Ministries has reached out to help those devastated by the floods in Kentucky by sending a truck loaded with essentials to those in need.
Y12 FCU Gives Foundation: What a tremendous blessing we received from Y12 FCU Gives Foundation. Thank you for helping us to feed children throughout East Tennessee.
Jellico High School - July 9, 2022
Compassion Ministries trucks headed out around 6 am on Saturday Morning, while another group of team members headed for Jellico, TN around 7 am in a torrential down pour. But rain or shine when it's time to serve a community in need the body of Christ shows up to do business for the Kingdom.
The ministries included in this wonderful outreach was of course Compassion Ministries of Cornerstone Church of God along with Pastor Steve McCullar, Mission of Hope Knox, Hope/Stand with Pastor Joey St John, Grace & Glory, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, Black Oaks Baptist Church, Choices Resource Center, HopePregnancy, Troy Reid at Matthew 25:35, Greater Grace Ministries, UnitedHealthcare, and the local Health Department. More than 100 volunteers showed up to serve over 600 families. To God be the glory for all that was accomplished!!
Fentress County Fair Grounds - March 26, 2022
Saturday, 26 March 2022, was an amazing day that Compassion Ministries served 553 families and gave away right at $100,000 worth of food and products having over 125 volunteers helping. It did not rain and the sun came out. People were totally blessed and grateful for the food that we provided them giving almost all the food away. A man stopped us on the way out and asked Pastor Steve for food stating that he had just lost his son and they did not have anything to eat. We gave him some of what we had left. Bill, Nancy, and Mark did an amazing job of signing in people, but, more help is needed there in the future. Sparkie, Steve, Randy, Jim, and Brandon also did an amazing job. Sparkie can only be in one place at one time and today Robin was asking him to be in three places at one time. Everyone on Compassion Ministries team, Randy, Jim, and Dottie worked so hard to help put this together. You guys are amazing and God is good.
Todd did an amazing job in his county laying in the foundation for today on the radio all week and had us into newspapers with great reviews. Laying the foundation before we get there, so that the people know that we are coming, is key. Mobile medical clinic went with us today had their first patient. After they left, more people showed up wanting to see them. The mobile medical clinic is something that's going to be slow and steady but, longer term, it will be a blessing to those who come.