By Keyshonna Simmons
As COVID-19 continues to ravage communities, local churches have stepped up and are providing aid to those in need.
The Way World Outreach, a church in San Bernardino, has been conducting food drives at its downtown location Wednesdays and Fridays at 11:30 a.m.
“During this (COVID-19) season, we’ve delivered over 10,000 bags of groceries and have given out 800 hot meals,” said Melissa Munoz, the church’s food distribution director.
The giveaway of hot meals are distributed outdoors using a grab-and-go method in order to remain aligned with COVID-19 safety.
Prior to COVID-19, the distribution of hot meals was conducted indoors. People from all over the Inland Empire would gather inside the facility for food and prayer.
“The Way World Outreach helps those who cannot make it to the church,” Annette Valdez, director of the church’s women’s home, said. “We go to the homes of seniors and at-risk people to give them food and groceries.”
The church’s success in finding the resources necessary to serve its community is an example of God’s work, Valdez said.
Through word of mouth, the church is able to help homeless people in the area.
“Some people come (in) incoherent and they come on a regular basis,” Valdez said. “(They) now have a relationship with people in the church and some now have homes and live a successful life.”
Briana Shelton, 28, a Hemet resident, also provides food and prayer to those in need within her community.
Shelton is continuing the work her aunt started in 2000 by giving out food and praying for those less fortunate around the Hemet area.
Kyle, a young man who was homeless and on drugs encountered Shelton one day. Shelton fed Kyle, prayed for him and shortly after Kyle reached out to thank Shelton.
According to Shelton, Kyle eventually checked into a rehabilitation center and turned to religion.
The churches and the people taking action to help feed their communities are making a big impact throughout the Inland Empire.
Donations can be made to The Way World Outreach located at 4680 Hallmark Pkwy in San Bernardino. Online donations can be made at https://thewayworldoutreach.org/.