Hundreds showed up to First Trinity Church of God in Christ, 800 S. Catalpa St., for a three-hour giveaway aimed at helping people combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) June 20.


Vehicles lined South Catalpa Street as early as 6:30 a.m. so those in attendance could obtain essential items that have been difficult to find since the pandemic started months ago, according to a news release.


“We are taking time out to connect with the community and share resources such as masks, sanitizer and thermometers,” said First Trinity’s pastor Aaron Withers. “We are taking care of our community also by making them aware of assistance programs for persons battling arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer as well as people who have lost their jobs.”


The supply kits included masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, thermometers and pamphlets about food, financial and medical assistance. In addition to helping people protect themselves from COVID-19, the event aimed to assist people who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.


Marie King, a coronavirus grant coordinator for churches, was on hand to sign up potential applicants for food assistance.


“Within the first hour, we accepted over a 100 applications,” King said. “I knew there was a need, but did not realize how great a need it was.”


According to King, applicants can receive approximately $500 to $750 in immediate food assistance. Programs exist to provide up to three months coverage of assistance to help people, she said.


Community members such as Martha Sullivan talked about how she was impressed to see so many people who had given up their Saturday to come out and assist with the event.


“I have not been disappointed in the least with what happened today,” said Sullivan of the church’s volunteer efforts.


Withers provided free meals through the local Subway to more than 100 people at the event. Supreme Beauty Supply of Little Rock donated the supply kits, which were handed out to at least 200 people, according to the release.