MARION, Ind. (WANE) – Hundreds of families in need won’t have to worry about Christmas dinner thanks to a Grant County church.
River Marion Church hosted its annual “Big Give” operation Saturday morning. Volunteers started getting ready around 6 a.m., and a stretch of cars lined up around the same time.
“When I pulled in this morning, there was cars four and five blocks down the road waiting to get meals,” volunteer Matthew Hussong said.
Volunteers passed out boxed meals to around 700 families at the church. Then, they took another 300 dinners to people who weren’t able to leave their homes. The dinners included all the traditional Christmas items like fresh ham, potatoes, vegetables and cake. The church says the event is about much more than good food, though.
“I started this three years ago with the passion and the desire to just meet the needs of some people this time of year,” Lead Pastor of River Marion Church Matthew Trexler said.
It only takes about four hours to deliver the boxes, but the preparation takes months. The church started planning back in July.
“You realize as you’re out and about shopping and doing things, there are other people who are struggling. So, it’s humbling to be able to serve people who you know are really in need,” church board member Amy Biegel said.
Leaders said the Big Give helps restore hope in the community during a rough economic time.
“There’s people hurting all over our state, but our county has been hit obviously by some job loss,” Trexler said.
While it was all smiles Saturday morning, volunteers said this day always reminds them of the struggle so many in their community face.
“In our culture today, we are all about doing what’s best for us and what fits for us and there’s a lesson to be learned for all of us here today to be able to allow ourselves to go out of our comfort zone, wake up early, whatever that might mean, to do our part to help someone else,” Biegel said.
The families receiving the gifts said they couldn’t be more grateful.
“It feels good, it’s a blessing,” Robert Lawrence said.
“We’re very thankful to receive,” Myranda Ricks said.
The church said it couldn’t be happier to give.
“Emotions are illuminated this time of year, and we’re just honored and blessed to be able to be a part of illuminating hope and taking the gospel of Christ to the people of this city,” Trexler said.