Oceanway Church arranges school supply and food drive

More than one thousand people made their way to Oceanway Middle School on Saturday for a school supply and food distribution.

Lisa Hamilton was among the crowd with her grandkids who are starting first grade and kindergarten. She considers all of this a blessing.

“Whatever the needs are, they fulfill the needs of the community,” Hamilton said. “The smiles just filled my heart. Just to see a child smile, and the parent smile that they do not have to worry. Their kids are taken care of. You can come here and feel safe, love and feel the energy.”

Oceanway Church, which is less than half a mile away from the school, arranged the event with the help of 200 volunteers.

It was the evidence of meeting a community’s needs. 600 bags of school supplies for students from kindergarten through high school were given away. They were able to get free haircuts and hair styling and snacks.

Outside the building, more than 400 separate families got their car trunks packed with $150 worth of groceries thanks to Farm Share and Feeding Northeast Florida.

Al Force is the pastor of Oceanway Church.

“That is what the church should do,” Force said. “The church is not a building. The church is people. When we mobilize people to be a part of the community, then the community gets ministered to, the community gets better. We want to families to know that we believe in them, that God sees them, and He has a plan for them. We just want to be a part of their lives.”

It was not just the students who got what they needed. All 75 teachers at Oceanway Middle school are receiving a basket filled with goodies and a personalized note.

The one word constantly used to describe everything happening at the school Saturday was love.

“Just to see everybody smile that is a blessing,” Hamilton said.

“When I see the response of families, you’ll see smiles, and you’ll even see some tears because families would [say], ‘I can never provide this for my kids. I do not have the resource,’” Force said. “That’s when the church steps it and says, ‘let’s be the church.’”

This was the sixth year Oceanway Church organized the event.

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