— Triangle area businesses, churches and community organizations are teaming up to help the less fortunate during Raleigh's first annual Convoy of Hope
The outreach event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Seven Acres of Hope site, on the corner of New Bern Avenue and South Swain Street. As many as 6,000 people are expected to turn out.
More than 40,000 pounds of groceries will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will also offer medical and dental screenings, a job fair, haircuts, children's activities and live entertainment.
"They are two hefty bags full of groceries that we will give out per person,” said Cary Brege, who works with the group. "It's all free. We want people to know that."
In honor of the event, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker has proclaimed Saturday to be Convoy of Hope Day.
"All guests at the outreach will be greeted with open arms and will be given nourishment for both their body and soul," said Pastor Sean Cordell, a coordinator of the event. "These people are our 'honored guests,' and we will do everything we can to make a difference in their lives."
Approximately 1,000 volunteers from 65 churches, local businesses and community organizations will take part in the event.
"We started planning this well over a year ago, and it just so happened the economy has taken the turn that it has," Brege said. "It really has been a group of churches across denominations wanting to bring this to the community."
Raleigh’s outreach event was spearheaded by Convoy of Hope
- based in Springfield, Mo. – which mobilizes and trains churches and other groups to conduct community outreach programs, respond to disasters and direct other compassion initiatives.
The nonprofit aims high to give people hope in hard times.
"We're about helping the community, and I think it's going to be great," said Leon Perry, a manager in the Raleigh Employment Security Commission Office.
The Convoy of Hope event will also host a job fair. St least 15 employers have signed up to participate, Perry said.
"It's going to be networking, and they might find out something that they didn't dream that they would find out,” he said.
The City of Raleigh and CAT will be offering free bus rides to event-goers that have a flier. (Print the flier.)
"There's not going to be any ID required," Brege said. "There are actually two bus routes that will drop you at this site, and the fliers we've been distributing in the community will serve as free bus fare on Saturday."