Cars were lined up throughout the parking lot of Fountain Point Medical Community as volunteers from Fountain Point and Life Point Church gave away 500 bags of fresh groceries from Lou’s Thrifty Way on Saturday morning.
Dr. Jim Bertus, a physician and anesthesiologist with Fountain Point and member of Life Point Church who was volunteering at the giveaway, said this was an opportunity to give back to the community when a lot of people are in need.
“In my own life, a lot of people have helped me out along the way,” Bertus said as he directed traffic. “This is a way we can help someone else out along their way. ... It’s a humble privilege to help someone else.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of people looking for ways to help during a difficult time. Chris Winegar, lead pastor for Life Point Church, said many people in the community are hurting financially and Saturday’s event offered much-needed assistance.
“We want to meet their physical needs and pray for their spiritual needs,” Winegar said. “We wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Mary Kay Uhing, chief operating officer of Fountain Point, said Fountain Point was happy to participate when asked.
“Our physician owners are community-minded and community partners,” Uhing said.
Uhing said between people losing their jobs or working less, along with children who can’t get a meal at school every day, that has put some people into a tough situation that the giveaway could assist with.
“Those issues compound for families during this time,” Uhing said. “This is our way of coming together to help make a positive difference in trying times.”
About 80 volunteers of all ages bagged the food the night before, hauled the bags around and put them into cars Saturday morning.
“There were lots of volunteers that popped up in a hurry,” Bertus said. “Because we’re built to serve, and this is an opportunity to serve.”
The giveaway was made by possible a single anonymous individual who donated $25,000. Each bag, filled with essential foods and a gift card, was worth $50.
“(The donor) took a step that many don’t do, and that’s the step of action,” Bertus said, “which set into motion a lot of other action to make this happen.”
Uhing said the donor recognizes that many people throughout the world live with hunger, and the pandemic has made their situation even worse. So the donor wanted to do something to help those people in Northeast Nebraska.
“When we can come together as a community and serve others, it’s a great honor to be able to do that,” Uhing said. “We rise by lifting others. It’s what we’re called to do.”