- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2008

A group of area faith-based organizations and businesses know as the Convoy of Hope will donate food, medical care and other services to an estimated 10,000 people Saturday at RFK Stadium.

“We expect this to be a blessing for the local community and for the D.C. metro area at large,” said Gary Austin, a spokesman for the Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit group. “A lot of residents are struggling through tough economic times, and we’re just glad to offer some relief.”

Volunteers plans to distribute more than 80,000 pounds of groceries and provide free haircuts and medical and dental screenings. They also will offer basic employment assistance in the form of job fairs and resume-writing workshops.

The free event, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., will include entertainment for adults and children.

Among the artists scheduled to perform are Clyde Evans Jr., artistic director of the Chosen Dance Company, and Phresh Select, a Philadelphia hip-hop group most recently seen on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”

As many as 1,500 volunteers are expected to participate in the event. They are recruited primarily by the National Community Church of D.C. and come for a variety of professions and backgrounds — including dentists, doctors, food-service workers, hair stylists, nurse practitioners, students and translators.

A rally is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Stuart-Hobson Middle School, in Northeast, for additional volunteers to sign up to provide the services and receive training.

Convoy of Hope has distributed more than $120 million worth in food aid and supplies to more than 20 million people across the country since it was formed in 1994. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans three years ago, the group provided more than 35 million pounds of supplies and helped rebuild more than 3,000 houses. The group returned to the Gulf Coast earlier this week to help relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.

“I’d like to say how wonderful it is to be involved with Convoy of Hope and what a gift it is to the community,” said D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, whose district includes the area around RFK Stadium.

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