DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on food insecurities among low income and middle-class families that struggle to make it from check to check. With that in mind, the pastor of New Birth Cathedral in DeKalb County said his church has a responsibility to serve the thousands of families who've come to rely on their weekend food giveaways. Rev. Jamal Bryant said 5,000 families are expected to show up for Thanksgiving turkeys and vegetables Saturday morning.
"This is what the church is supposed to be about. Not just singing and preaching and shouting, but serving," Rev. Bryant told FOX 5's Portia Bruner on Friday.
More than 150 volunteers spent the day at New Birth Cathedral getting ready to give away thousands of boxes full of thanksgiving food. Organizer Kerri Pabon said hundreds of families will already be in line at the DeKalb County church when the drive-through opens at 10 a.m. Saturday.
"There's a lot of people facing food insecurities for the holidays and we just want to be a blessing," said Pabon, who coordinates the acquisition of food.
New Birth started the Kings Table food drive in January, feeding about 300 families a month with food from businesses and Georgia farmers. The pastor said that number soared to 5,000 during the pandemic.
"This is the best model of a remote control ministry. We're figuring out how to be high tech and high touch. So people are just going to pull up to the church and pop their trunk. Through their closed window, they're going to tell us how many people live in your home and we'll stuff the trunks according to what that need is," said Bryant.
New Birth members insist it's important to serve those in need even in the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It doesn't scare us. We're tested. We have our masks. We're wearing gloves and being socially distant as best as we can, said Brittany Holloway, a New Birth member, and Kings Table Volunteer.
Fellow church members said she doesn't feel at risk since the interactions are limited to dropping food in the trunk
"Spiritually, I'm protected by God and physically, as long as I have my mask, washing my hands and I'm staying away from people, that's all that matters to me. I'm protected," said Yancey Verella.
The Kings Table drive through runs from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday. Cars usually start lining up by 7 a.m. and organizers said they have plenty of turkeys and vegetables to give away to families in need.