Free groceries aren't easy to come by in lower Park Heights, but yesterday about 200 households in that Northwest Baltimore area received brown paper bags filled with bread, canned vegetables, rice and other goodies -- and they were not alone.
Hundreds of families in the city, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County were greeted with food, hugs and prayers as 10 area churches joined to minister to poor neighborhoods with food and a message of hope.
"We need to let people know that there's a loving God that cares for them," said the Rev. John Krach, pastor of South Baltimore's Church on the Rock, which sponsored the third annual Feed the 5,000 Day.
About 10 a.m. yesterday, nearly 200 people gathered at the nondenominational Christian church on the corner of Hanover Street and Patapsco Avenue to sing songs, pray and worship before loading up 1,100 bags of groceries in cars and trucks and heading to Cherry Hill, South Baltimore, Morrell Park, Towson, Severn and Glen Burnie.
Although this was the third year that the Church on the Rock has sponsored Feed the 5,000 Day -- named from a biblical passage that describes Jesus miraculously feeding 5,000 people with two fish and five loaves of bread -- it was the first time the church had invited other congregations to help.
Five of the churches -- Church on the Rock, Agape Fellowship, Emmanuel World Outreach in Curtis Bay, Evangelical Bible Church in Morrell Park, and Church of the Nazarene in Brooklyn -- are in Baltimore. The donated food came from several pantries throughout the state.