(Memphis) Nearly ten thousand Mid-Southerners received help in a big a way, all thanks to the Convoy of Hope. Dozens of churches banded together to provide food, health testing even haircuts.
Reverend Panisha Stigger walked the line at the Convoy of Hope Saturday, helping thousands waiting for free food, health care and clothes pass the time.
“When you look at the lines from the outside to the lines on every level on the floor that speaks to the great need in the Mid-South area,” pointed out Stigger.
It's a need so great this event needed hundreds of volunteers from 115 Memphis churches to help give away services totaling more than a million dollars.
Mom Tara Juarez is taking advantage of the free job counseling.
“It’s hard, it’s very hard. I have a hard time doing it because I only have a high school diploma. I don't have much experience,” said Juarez.
But Tara is also here to give her kids something to do in this weekend's 90 degree weather. Her daughter Ariana can burn off toddler energy, inside.
“She don't have to go to the park outside and worry about heat exhaustion,” said Juarez.
Organizers worried about the sweltering heat too.
“Last year you had people fainting everywhere and the lines were still long. We were at the Mid-South fairgrounds. It was so hot,” said Stigger.
It was so hot last year, the fire department shut down the event for safety in just two hours, turning many in need away.
With the setup inside this convention center this year, more families are able to get help. The crowd is almost double the size it was last year
“I got a little sick myself,” said Brenda Smith who is thankful this year the event is inside. But she's even more thankful because she'll get free health screening. Brenda doesn't have insurance.
“I have high blood pressure and sugar, they should be able to help me,” said Smith.
For many, the help was too overwhelming too describe.
“It’s unspeakable. I am glad,” said Juarez.
The Memphis Convoy of Hope is part of a national initiative with similar events in cities all over the country. This year, the national organization hopes to give away 50 million dollars in services.