The annual Helping Hands event hosted by RIO Revolution provided back-to-school supplies, food and clothing for 6,700 participants.
The church enlisted the help of more than 500 volunteers who helped distribute 500 backpacks with school supplies, along with over 1,000 new pairs of shoes, 1200 bags of clothing and 1,000 hygiene kits.
The event, held July 26, also provided haircuts to some 225 people and gave away 24 new bicycles.
A lot of gift cards were also handed out as was over 90,000 pounds of food.
Dental care for 82 patients was provided as well.
Helping Hands was held at Heritage High School and has been for many years. Shirley Rupert was one of the volunteers who helped with clothing distribution.
“I loved helping find the perfect size of clothing for those in need,” she said.
“The amount of clothes can be overwhelming to search through.”
Other volunteers like Don Fife saw firsthand what it means to serve with the right attitude. “Everyone’s heart was in it and everyone took care of each other,” he said.
Others helping that day offered prayer for those who were suffering.
Amanda Mesnard said she was able to pray with a woman who has stomach cancer.
The woman, who’s name is Charish, continues to need prayer, Mesnard said.
RIO Revolution is led by Pastor Pacer Hepperly.
This church is part of a network of RIO churches here in Blount County that reaches out globally.
James Kenneth McCollum said he has seen RIO churches in action. “RIO has always had a great outreach program to other places around the world, but now, I can see them making a big difference here at home,” he said.