(Air1 Closer Look) – Relief organization Convoy of Hope is known worldwide for speeding assistance to disaster victims in big rigs packed with blankets, buckets, water and food. But in the calm between storms, the Christian-based ministry focuses on meeting everyday needs through large-scale Community Events. 

Hear how your town could host a Convoy of Hope Community Event. 

In 2018, Convoy of Hope brought together neighborhood churches to host more than 60 events in cities nationwide, providing basics like haircuts, groceries and new shoes to more than 96,000 low-income men, women and children. Event planners aspire to create a space where everyone feels loved and accepted, so fun services like nail salons, kid zones and free family portraits are added to the festivities. Convoy volunteers are committed to treating attendees with dignity and respect, which begins with an enthusiastic welcome at the gate. “One of our philosophies is that we want the guests at these events to feels like honored guests in our home,” explains Jeff Nene, national spokesman for Convoy of Hope. 

Michael Redmond, Vice President of Community Events for Convoy agrees. “It’s not a hand-out, it’s not even a carnival – although it’s a very uplifting and fun atmosphere – you can feel the love of Christ through the churches and through the volunteers that are there.” 

"Change in a city comes through loving the city, being kind," Redmond adds. "That was the greatest commandment that Jesus had to the church – for us to love our neighbor.”

To prepare for a Community Event, Convoy of Hope sends special planning representatives into a city or town up to a year in advance to recruit churches and train volunteers on connecting with guests for the short and long-term. Redmond says he’s seen this process forge new unity among local Christians. Many faith leaders admit "'this is one of the first times that we’ve all come together around the same table for a cause like this.’ Redmond is convinced that the commitment to extensive ‘front-end’ preparation -- and prayer -- create the unbeatable synergy that makes the events successful.

Nene wholeheartedly agrees and praises the tireless efforts of local Christians who host and staff the large-scale outreaches. “It’s not all about Convoy of Hope, it’s all about us empowering a local community to take care of their own.”