Convoy of Hope, a national food ministry to the urban poor, is expanding beyond one-day food giveaways to coordinate weeklong, citywide events that mobilize volunteers to shower inner-city neighborhoods with good works and the gospel.

The first event, called "We Care, L.A.," will unite churches and potentially thousands of volunteers on the last week of 1999 to blitz Los Angeles with acts of kindness. Christians will visit hospitals; clean up parks; paint buildings; comfort the lonely; and deliver free groceries, toys, or clothing.

"We want to be a catalyst," says David Donaldson, one of three brothers who helps lead ChurchCare America, the ministry that founded the Convoy of Hope. "God has already raised up an army of volunteers in Los Angeles. We Care, L.A. will integrate their efforts."

The foundation for We Care has been laid by Convoy of Hope, which has grown exponentially since conducting its first major food outreach in 1995. Convoy events take place on a Saturday, bringing together resources from the evangelical community and making them available to the poor at a gathering that is part food giveaway, part tent revival, and part carnival. The two consistent features of each event are a semitrailer full of food, bagged and distributed by volunteers, and a series of brief tent services conducted by a slate of local pastors. One of the ministry's goals is to "make the inner-city pastor a hero in his community," says Steve Donaldson, one of the brothers leading ChurchCare America, which has offices in Springfield, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Follow-up events pull new Christians and potential churchgoers back to church on Sunday.

Convoy of Hope has distributed 4.6 million pounds of food to 311,000 people in most ...

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