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Despite COVID-19 restrictions, 500 Missouri church volunteers find way to pack more than 40,000 meals during Sunday's morning services



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They were not going to let a pandemic get in the way of providing for the less fortunate — especially during the Christmas season.

That's what was going through the hearts of some 500 volunteers at a church in Joplin, Missouri, over the weekend.

What did they do?

Members of Hope City Church gathered for a different style of worship service Sunday morning, the Christian Post reported. Instead of the usual time of music, prayer, and sermons, the church's entire morning services — at 9:45 and 11:15 a.m. — were reserved for packing meals for a local charity.

Lead Pastor Cody Walker told the Post that the teams of hundreds packed 40,218 meals for Watered Gardens Ministries, an organization the church has worked with for years now.

What about the pandemic? Walker said they took the appropriate precautions, knowing that it would take extra effort to complete their mission.

"We had about 525 individuals pack the meals. Everyone was required to wear a mask, hair net, and gloves," the pastor told the Post. "Every volunteer was stationed with a small team of about 10 in a specific spot while they packed the meals."

It was worth the effort because the church was focused on the desire to "give our people an opportunity this season to impact our local community."

"In a season where it can be easy to give our attention and focus to things, we wanted to focus on people. Instead of having a typical worship gathering, we spent most of our time packing meals that will help feed hungry families," Walker said. "We know everyone needs two things: food and hope. We hope these meals will be able to provide both for people who need to know they are not forgotten or alone. Our people at Hope City know we are all in the same boat and serving others is at the heart of the Gospel."

Watered Gardens Ministries told the Post that Hope City Church filling an ongoing need for an item that runs out regularly and shared that the meals will be passed out at their Mission Market and their Outreach Center.

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