FALLS CHURCH, Va. — As Thanksgiving approaches, one Virginia church is helping families fight hunger.
Though they're still worshipping online via Zoom, First Baptist Church of Merrifield gathered in person Saturday.
The congregation hosted a drive-through food giveaway in Falls Church.
Volunteers spent hours Saturday morning unloading supplies and packing them into donation boxes.
Around 11:00 A.M., cars began to arrive to pick up the food.
Senior Pastor Paul Shepard estimates volunteers prepared and handed out hundreds of meals to families in need from across the Falls Church area.
Each family got a box of perishable and non-perishable food.
Shepard says hunger is a challenge every year, but COVID-19 made the need much more acute. With people losing hours at work or their jobs altogether, putting food on the table has been a challenge for many.
"So many people are hurting in this pandemic," he said.
Shepard says his congregation is happy to "rise up" to the challenge and help how they can.
"This is what the church is about," said Shepard. "It's not about just coming on Sunday mornings only. It's about coming out, leaving the four walls, and meeting the needs of the community."
Looking at dozens of church volunteers working in tandem to distribute the food, Shepard called it "the true demonstration of the love of Christ to the people."
Organizers say their goal is to ease the burden on families as they head into the holiday season.