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Food drive brings crowds to Benton Harbor church

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- A food drive attracted quite the crowd on Thursday in Benton Harbor.

"Feeding America" delivered 8,800 pounds of food.

Close to 300 people showed up at the Abundant Life Church on Columbus Ave.

Organizers said that with the way the economy is there, they were expecting a large turn out. Some people started lining up around 8am, although the event didn't start until noon.

It took Earnestine Brooks of St. Joseph 3 hours to get from where she stays in St. Joe to the Benton Harbor Church. She called Dial-A-Ride and paid $1.50 each to the church and back to get her one bag of free food. "I worked all my life and I'm here now, I'm on kidney dialysis right now, I'm waiting for a kidney and it's just really hard," said Brooks. However she said, "it was worth it to me, I'm on a fixed income right now." 

Brooks wasn't alone... Jewel Bah of Benton Harbor said, "Basically I think it's cool if you just get anything because now it's hard, so I appreciate the little bit that I do get."  

Yvonne Vidt the Community Service Program Manager for Southwest Michigan Action Agency said, "the line was about a block down and they had been waiting since 8:30 this morning the truck didn't arrive until 11:30 and we didn't start to twelve so they have waited about 3 1/2 hours for this food. Our purpose today is to feed the community and it's a partnership with Abundant Life Church and Southwest Community Action Agency."

Marletta Seats an evangelist with Abundant Life Church said, "Pastor Seats (her son) decided that it was perfect timing for us to have a feeding every month for the community." 

Seats said last month 200 people came for the free food, on Thursday the community broke that record! "This morning we've done probably over 300 families," said Seats.

Bah said, 'thank God for the good stuff and the people that are out here today sharing all this good food, bless the church and the pastor and all." 

Organizers said the food was paid for through cash donations that were collected during a huge fundraiser back in November. They will also be passing out food next month, however no date is set for the event yet. They do tell ABC 57 they hope more people turn out.


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