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Church helping to distribute hope through Owen County

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By Molly Haines

The Hesler Assembly of God Church, along with several local businesses, came together Saturday to help bring hope to Owen County.

The event – God Gives Hope to Owen County – was held at the high school and included a job fair, health screenings, blood mobile, kids and youth zone, inflatables, free groceries and free lunch.

Several booths were set up including the University of Kentucky, Campbellsville University, a Hispanic outreach team and youth services from OCHS.

Hesler Assembly of God Pastor Joel Rivera said he wanted to reach out to members of the community to help fulfill their needs.

“Our primary focus is to give hope to the community,” Rivera said. “There are so many in the county who are less fortunate than we are and we wanted to provide hope for them and their families.”

Rivera said the event provided many people with heaters and firewood for the upcoming winter months.

“We had a couple of deaths in the county last winter caused by fumes during the ice storm,” Rivera said. “By giving away the heaters and firewood, we hope to help prevent something like that happening again.”

Smoke detectors were also given away during the event which were provided by the Red Cross.

Rivera said free groceries were distributed and a free lunch was provided to all who attended.

“This was a church-wide effort,” Rivera said. “We had over 60 volunteers and I think it went really well for those who went through.”

Jennifer Smith a former drug and alcohol addict, was present at the event to help spread the message of hope.

“I was addicted to drugs and alcohol and homeless for eight years,” Smith said. “Jesus captured my heart and I realized that I didn’t have to live like that. I didn’t let society choose for me I let Jesus choose for me. It’s amazing when a church can pull something together like this for their community. It leaves a lasting impact when churches reach out and bring hope to those who are less fortunate.”

Carol Wilhoite, who attended the event Saturday, said she was impressed by the churches effort to reach out to those in need.

“It really is a wonderful event,” Wilhoite said. “I think they’ve helped out the county a lot and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me today.”

Rivera said the church hopes to hold the event each year as well as other events throughout the year.

“We’re going to have a mobile-pantry unit Oct. 29 that will be for 100 needy families who are in need of groceries,” Rivera said. “Those who feel they need this help can contact the church office and they will be asked to fill out a form so we can see their need. Those who are chosen will be given a ticket for the mobile-pantry unit.”