‘Drop off, Drive thru’ food drive benefits Boca Helping Hands


By: Diane Emeott Korzen

While still under quarantine due to COVID-19, filling up a Boca Helping Hands bin to overflowing became the mission of the day for Journey Church Boca Raton members. 

About 878 pounds of food was collected during the half-day food drive on April 28. 

That equates to groceries for about 90 families for an entire week.

A handful of volunteers received the canned and boxed goods donations from contributors.

Many wearing masks didn’t even have to leave their cars. They simply popped open their car trunks, allowing masked and social distancing volunteers to unload the donated items and deposit them into a large wooden bin in the church’s circle driveway. 

Boca Helping Hands picked up the bin it had left earlier, now filled with boxes of cereal, oatmeal, spaghetti, mac & cheese; canned soup, tuna, fruit, veggies — and requested Chef Boyardee. 

Event coordinator Barbara Torlone thanked volunteers and church staff the next day. “Thank you all soooo much for volunteering to receive donations for yesterday’s Boca Helping Hands Food Drive.  I enjoyed spending time with you and seeing you face-to-face!… At the end of the day, the big bin was overflowing. God poured His blessings on the day!”

Said Boca Journey Lead Pastor Jason Hatley, “Our church loves this community and this is such a powerful (and fun) way of showing God’s love here in Boca Raton. We are grateful to our volunteers and everyone who donated to help families in need. And we’re excited about other opportunities to bless others that we have coming up soon!”

Hatley said the church has also reached out to area hospitals, clinics, and first responders to see how it can pray for and serve them. 

Coming next is a Blood Drive, in partnership with One Blood, to help replenish the needed blood supply on Tuesday, May 12 from Noon – 6 p.m, at The Journey’s Ministry and Worship Center, 2200 NW Boca Raton Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431. Open to the public, One Blood is asking to schedule appointments in advance. Anyone wishing to donate,

Click Here to Save Lives at The Journey Church, at www.bocajourney.com 

Asked how the food drive came about, Torlone said she learned through Boca Helping Hands’ monthly newsletter that they were asking the community to please help, as they were getting so much more need, with people out of work, as well as the regular people they help.

She said the food drive was something the church has done before, and she also did a food drive with her condominium. 

Journey partnered with Boca Helping Hands around the holidays for a Pack The Pantry event, Nov. 17 through Dec. 8,  as well as doing past Thanksgiving outreaches, hearty soup drives, peanut butter & jelly drives, cereal drives, and monetary donations.

Among the volunteers were longtime church members Marie and Gary Decius from Haiti. 

Said Marie, “Anytime I can help the community, it’s a big thing for me. Growing up in Haiti, this is what I do when I go back at [local] churches. Once a year I collect a lot of clothes and ship them to Haiti in a big box.” 

Gary, who has worked in the Publix Deli dept. for 26 years, said “When I retire in five years, this is what I want to do. Helping other people. Growing up in Haiti, I saw the hardship, 24/7.”

Pastor of Journey Church New York City, Kerrick Thomas, said they provided breakfast for close to 300 doctors, nurses and staff at 3 hard-hit hospitals in NYC this week.  Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, Weill Cornell Hospital in Manhattan, and Brooksdale Hospital in Brooklyn.  “We also provided breakfast for essential staff at a local post-office. And had volunteers prepare and serve close to 100 lunches to the needy and homeless on the Lower East Side.”

For more information on Boca Helping Hands, go to www.bocahelpinghands.org