In partnership with Convoy of Hope, The Journey has distributed more than 200,000 pounds of food this year to those impacted by COVID-19 in Delaware alone. Steve Miller, a pastor at the church who oversees the Code Red community assistance program, noticed that the start of the pandemic highlighted and exacerbated the issue of domestic food insecurity. “I think so many times it’s easy to think that those types of circumstances exist overseas — and they do — but they also exist right in our backyards,” he said.
As the pandemic worsened, Steve and his team began to notice other prominent issues in their community. The rates of addiction, suicide, and overdoses skyrocketed as people remained isolated in their homes. By Steve’s estimates, there were 285 peer support groups meeting regularly before the pandemic. Today, less than one tenth of them remain open.
“One of our other concerns during this time of COVID-19 is the mental health and recovery resources that are available for people,” Steve said. “So that’s a huge concern of ours as well. We have about a half a dozen environments that we’ve created on a weekly or biweekly basis where people can come and seek counseling and peer support to help them get through the recovery process and hopefully set on a path toward greater things in their life.”
Food distributions made possible by Convoy of Hope helped recipients take the next step toward recovery and mental wellness. Some signed up for the recovery and support groups with their newly acquired groceries still in hand. The groceries helped meet guests’ immediate needs, but the event itself gave them hope for the future.
“Hope buys another day. Hope buys another week,” Steve said. “And if that hope comes through a package of food, or if that hope comes from being surrounded by other people that are on the same path and are trying to overcome similar circumstances and just knowing that you’re not in it alone, that’s where we want to be.”