“From what we can tell, we are anticipating about twice the number of people we had last time,” said church member Larry Botelho, one of the organizers of the event. “People really, really respond to this, especially during these hard times.”
Day of Compassion will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the church and will provide free bags of groceries, medical and dental screenings – even haircuts – to anyone who shows up. This time, an optometrist will also be on hand to provide free eye tests.
Harvest Time Pastor Dennis Reynolds and his congregation began gathering interest, along with food and pledges, last October while making their way throughout the community in their mobile food wagon. Quickly sensing that the need was greater than they could accommodate, the congregation decided to host an event on the ample church grounds.
And for any Doubting Thomases who might scoff at the true effectiveness of such a large, community event, Botelho said they need only look to the last event for proof.
“One guy came in last time and seemed kind of ill,” said Botelho. “He had his blood pressure taken and apparently it was so high that he was taken right to the hospital, where he was taken care of and put on medicine. Who knows what would have happened (to him) if he hadn’t come by?
“The response has been fantastic; it’s going to be the same routine, but a little bit bigger, with some additional services and more volunteers. It’s going to be great.”
Although it’s hard to guess exactly how many will show up for the event – Botelho estimates it could be as much as double the nearly 500 from last time – all are welcome and no one will be turned away.
“We just want everyone to come,” said Reynolds in a previous Press interview. “It’s a first-come, first-served basis and we’ll be there for as long as it lasts. We believe that if you’re doing the right thing, you can accomplish just about anything.”
The Harvest Time Assembly of God Church is located at 2200 Ventura Road, across from Krey Elementary School. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The next Day of Compassion will be held Nov. 22. For additional information, call Harvest Time Assembly of God Church at 925-516-1908.