At the City of Light Church in Silver Spring, a special wall has gone up outside on Sunday morning. Instead of bricks, the wall is made of boxes filled with food, a sort of a literal and figurative bulwark against hunger.
“The people are coming. The needs are always great,” Dr. Abdul Sesay, senior pastor, said.
The church holds these food giveaways several times each week, distributing nearly 2,200 pounds of food. Members give out culturally appropriate meal boxes, with items like palm oil, smoked fish and tortillas.
This effort counts on partnerships with Montgomery County and local charities, as well as church members to get the food.
“We do this because of the need of the people. I love to help people and I’m very grateful for the City of Light," Mylene Mendoza said.
The church expected the need to subside amid recent hopes that a stimulus package was near.
"We hope [the stimulus] will go through the Congress because the needs are here,” Sesay said.
Hours before the event got started, people were already lining up a quarter of a mile away from the food drive. It’s a scene often repeated at such events.
As the wall of boxes starts to disappear into the hands of those in need, the church finds itself with the dual mission of feeding hungry bellies and weary souls.
"We even play music around so that we can be optimistic right there, and just get into the groove,” Sesay said.
Perhaps amid that groove, those in need will find a ray of light in “knowing that this will pass away. It will soon be over,” Sesay said.