MERIDEN — More than 400 families received food on Saturday afternoon from the Farmers to Families Boxed Food Program.
The event took place for the second week in a row at Joy Unlimited Ministries International, 305 Center St.
Apostle Julia Oparaocha runs the event along with 15 to 20 volunteers. Cars started lining up on Center Street before the 2 p.m. start. Each family received a box with fresh produce, meat and a gallon of milk free of charge. Reservations were necessary.
Oparaocha has been the pastor of the church since 2016. The church had 12 pallets of food delivered on Saturday to distribute.
“This means so much to me that we are a channel for those who are hungry or people who aren’t able to get food on their table today,” Oparaocha said. “This blesses my heart to help a mother who has two children and doesn’t know what to do to put food on their table and here is an answer to their prayers. We’ve been praying to God to use us in any way and this is the way that the Lord has been using us here.”
The food distribution started when the city’s Department of Health and Human Services asked the church to host the event.
Oparaocha said the community appreciates the help.
“My heart is so glad we are able to help anyone that needs help and that we don’t have to turn anyone away. Anyone who is in need in Meriden should be able to get a box,” Oparaocha said.
Meriden resident Minister Senny Wilson has volunteered at the the two food drives.
"We have so many homeless people and people who need help,” Wilson said. “Our ministry wants to engage to help others. We love to interact with people in the community that need help. Everyone has to do their own part and it will be better. We are doing a little bit every day, one day at a time. We have to do whatever we can do for one another. It's a good feeling.”
There’s another event scheduled for Oct. 31 at Joy Unlimited Ministries International. There’s also a food distribution event this Thursday on the Meriden Green from 3 to 7 p.m.