Convoy of Hope gives a “hand-up” to residents in southwest Fort Worth

By Haley Harrison

Convoy of Hope, the non-profit organization that helps communities worldwide by providing food, water and emergency supplies, rolled into Southwest high school this past weekend for its biggest community event in Fort Worth yet.

For the first time, the organization partnered with the City of Fort Worth and many other local organizations to provide a complimentary lunch and various other services for residents. Fort Worth City Councilman Jungus Jordan said about 10,000 people visited the high school despite the cold, windy weather.

Children enjoyed free haircuts, shoes and a “kids zone” that included 14 bounce houses. Adults were able to talk with consultants from health, career and other community services.

“Our goal is to do two things,” said Darius Johnston, Lead Pastor for Christ Church of Fort Worth. “Number one give people a handout, but we also want to give people a hand-up. We want to do something that is going to make a difference for the needy people in our community.”

Johnston and other church leaders helped supply Bibles and pray with attendees who were interested.

Steve Pulis, the Convoy of Hope National Director for community events, said that the Fort Worth event had some unique services such as a municipal court, where residents could talk to local judges about their concerns, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The event volunteers even wore pink shirts to celebrate the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October.

“We have been wanting to do a pink out event for a long time,” Pulis said. “We are helping a lot of women know how to early-detect breast cancer and what to do if they find a lump.”

Health professionals encouraged women to get an ultrasound or mammogram if they are concerned.

Many families looked forward to their share of the 10,0000 grocery bags that waited for them at the end of their time at the event, Pulis said. Each adult received two bags of groceries and a third bag of locally fresh produce. Children were also given brand new soccer balls from the Zeb Strong Foundation.

Kenneth Flynn, the local coordinator for the community event, said his team of about 30 people spent countless hours over the past six months planning for this event. But that hasn’t stopped him from looking ahead.

“We need to do it again really soon,” Flynn said. “Although we had a lot [of local support], we would love to have more people help us and make this even bigger next time.”

Flynn said if a local church or business group is interested in getting involved with Convoy of Hope, they can register on their website under the participate tab.

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