Cars were backed up down S. Main Street as a Wetumpka police officer directed traffic into the parking lot of the Wetumpka Civic Center on New Year’s Eve.
Residents were waiting their turn to receive food boxes from the Heavy Hearts Youth Mentorship Program, a nonprofit organization that provides services for the youth, senior citizens and communities at large.
Bathsheba Brown, the executive director and founder of Heavy Hearts YMP, said the organization travels throughout 15 Alabama counties hosting mobile food drives every two weeks.
From 7 a.m. until about noon on Dec. 31, more than 500 families received a food box that consisted of various fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes, corn, beverages and more. The organization provides food for roughly 1,500 families per month and is supported through community donations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and area food banks.
Members of Spring Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and Wetumpka High School’s baseball team were on hand to help the organization distribute food to residents.
Baseball head coach Michael Dismukes said he strives to teach his players the importance of giving back to their community and about being servant leaders.
“It’s important to me that we work as a team to help others in any way that we can,” Dismukes said.
Noah Jones, an 11th-grade second baseman, said the event was a positive experience for him.
“I like helping people who need it,” Jones said. “Giving back and acts of service are really important to me. I think it’s important to spread positivity and to be unselfish.”
Chad Richardson, pastor of Spring Chapel, said was on the frontline Thursday, loading food into vehicles. He said his church jumped at the opportunity to help because “the need is great this year.”
“2020 has already been a devastating year and we wanted to help provide some relief,” he said. “We want to let people know that the church cares about their spiritual and physical needs.”
In addition to hosting food drives, the organization operates an Adopt a Senior program that provides food to senior citizens on a monthly basis for a year with a donation of $50. The group also hosts summer camps and operates summer feeding programs for school-aged children.
For more information about Heavy Hearts YMP, go to Heavyheartsymp.com.