By Jessica Munday
As Hurricane Sandy was making her way up the East Coast, hundreds of volunteers and organizers were making their way to St. John’s High School to open the gates to the 2012 Convoy of Hope. Rain or shine, groups like Kiawah Cares, the Town of Kiawah Island, and several Sea Island churches were determined to bring the national outreach program to Johns Island. And, that they did.
Convoy of Hope is a national faith-based organization that brings essential supplies and services to local communities. However, they don’t just show up. In order for the Convoy to come to a particular location, local volunteers, businesses, and organizations have to partner together to provide the location, staffing, services, and promotion. That is where organizations like Kiawah Cares come in.
Kiawah Cares is the community outreach program of the Kiawah Island Community Association, representing the island’s property owners. Together, with leaders in the community like Pastor Mary Stoney of Life Restoration and Prosperity Ministries, they were able to put the framework in place to bring Convoy of Hope to Johns Island for a second year in a row.
“The need for assistance is so great,” says Pastor Stoney. “As community leaders, we are dedicated to lending a hand, providing education and giving people real-world tools they can use to improve their lives.” Pastor Stoney says the Convoy of Hope planning team is focused on building a healthy, sustainable community.
On Saturday, October 27, nearly 1,500 families and individuals came to the high school where they benefited from health and wellness check-ups, free haircuts, bags of groceries, Christmas gifts for children, information on local job opportunities and fellowship. Guests made their way through the rain to the prayer tent where they gathered with local pastors and then on to the Convoy of Hope truck where volunteers packed bags of groceries for each person in attendance. No one left empty-handed.
Jimmy Bailey, ambassador for the Kiawah Cares program says, “It’s about neighbors helping neighbors and that is why so many of our members volunteer during the Convoy of Hope.” Bailey says that events like Convoy of Hope not only help Sea Island residents, but also they allow community leaders and businesses to work together, creating partnerships that help strengthen our communities.
Convoy of Hope is scheduled to be an annual event for Johns Island.
Photos by Jessica Munday