Northland News

Church to distribute fresh food to needy families


Victorious Life Christian Center will be a distribution site again this year for free fresh produce through the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

The first such event for families in need is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 27, or until all the food is handed out, according to Lisa R. Johnson, outreach community liaison for the church, which is located at 1875 Tamarack Circle N.

"Needy families are asked to bring plastic bags to take their food home," Johnson wrote in an email announcing the resumption of the program.

Identification is not required and church officials don't verify income, but there will be a sign-up sheet at registration and only one bag of produce is available for each household.

"It was a very satisfying process," Johnson said last week of becoming a Mid-Ohio Foodbank site in 2013.

Church members and community volunteers handed out fresh produce on two occasions last year, she added, serving more than 160 families the first time and 130 families the second time.

"We found that there was a huge need in the Northland community," Johnson said. "We wanted to be part of filling that need, both spiritually and physically."

Church members "desperately need" volunteers between 2 and 4 p.m. the day of the produce distribution to help set up, and then from 4 p.m. on to bag food, register families, distribute the produce, pray with anyone requesting it and clean up once the food supply is exhausted, she said.

Students from Northland and Beechcroft high schools have been invited to help out as a means of earning some required community service hours, Johnson added. Students from Genoa Christian Academy have already made plans to participate, as they did last year.

"They were a tremendous help," Johnson said.

"We never know what we will be getting until the day it arrives -- actually about two hours before we start giving it away," she said.

On March 27, in addition to the food, church members will hand out invitations to "Friend Sunday" on March 30. Part of a national movement of churches across America, Friend Sunday encourages members to invite friends and family to a special service "where friendship is honored and encouraged," according to a press release about the movement.

The Victorious Life Christian Center service on Friend Sunday will start at 10:30 a.m.