NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The coronavirus pandemic forced a crucial annual holiday event in Jefferson Parish to change, but organizers say the message of Feed the Multitudes remains the same. Victory Church in Metairie welcomed hundreds of people in need with a special drive-thru addition.
“We want to spread a message of hope,” said Co-Pastor Paris Bailey.
Feed the Multitudes has become a 4th of July tradition over the years at Victory church on Airline Dr., with free games, live music, and food and groceries for those in need, however this year, due to the pandemic, the event was transformed.
“People are coming onto the property. We have three stations where they get snowballs, drinks, they’re going to get hot meals with barbecue chicken, grilled chicken, jambalaya, corn on the cobb. We’re giving out watermelons to every car,” Senior Pastor Frank Bailey said.
The church said the restrictions did present challenges, but canceling the event never entered their mind.
“Because the reason we do it is because people are always in need, now so more than ever, so we wanted to find a way to get supplies into people’s hands, and also having a diversion for the day,” the senior pastor said. “Some fun and entertainment, so we have music here all day long that they can enjoy in their cars as they come by.”
As dozens of cars lined up for blocks down airline, bailey says they had more than enough provisions to go around thanks to many people who stepped up in the community, including a new face from the Salvation Army.
“My family and I, we just moved here about two weeks ago, but we found out about Feed the Multitudes,” Salvation Army Area Commander Major Chris Thornhill said.
The Salvation Army has partnered with victory church for years, but newcomer Thornhill said he made his first order of business to up the ante for this 4th of July event.
“One of my first days in the office, I get a phone call. I have two tractor trailers full of food, well it kind of just seems like that spiritual moment for us that this is what we need to do,” he said.
The church thanked him for those efforts.
“We improvised and that’s really what I think 2020 is about, because things might be taken away from us, but you know what through that we can work through this is as a nation, as a people,” Senior Pastor Bailey said.