After a trip to Ukraine, missionaries at one local church were changed forever. Thousands of children there are without families and have lost all hope, but when they returned to Panama City they realized many of the children in our own community share the same hopelessness and they decided to do something about it.
"We do mission trips overseas, but sometimes we loose sight of the fact that there are people in our own backyards who are hungry," Barney Barnett of Forest Park United Methodist Church says.
So every Saturday for the past three years, members of Forest Park United Methodist Church come together to make more than 400 lunches for needy families. It's a tedious process, but they say it's worth the time and effort.
"How often are you able to go out into the community and help? What's even better is if you can share the word and open their hearts. It's a wonderful thing," Bonnie Hamiter says.
The wonderment has struck all of these families who wait patiently every Saturday for a lunch they may not have had otherwise.
"I think it's better because then our parents don't have to spend money. We can just have our own food. Thank you. We appreciate it, and God bless them," nine-year-old Jeremy Robinson of Pana Villa Apartments says.
At the Pana Villa Apartment Complex volunteers passed out 200 lunches alone. They'll make another stop at Macedonia Gardens to deliver the rest.
"You know it's easy to criticize how someone else lives, but unless you go out and see how they live you can't fully appreciate some of the hardships they go through," Barnett says.
Missionaries at Forest Park United Methodist Church learned once again of the hardships the children in Ukraine live through everyday. They just return from a trip there last week and this time around Newschannel Seven's own Neysa Trout joined them.
Starting Monday at 6 p.m., Neysa will share the stories of dozens of Ukrainian orphans.