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Valley Families and students heading back to school were able to pick up school supplies and groceries Saturday during a special giveaway in Youngstown.
Over three and a half semi-trucks were loaded with food and over 2,500 backpacks were filled with school supplies ready for the annual Goodness Invasion at the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown.
The event is an effort supported by several churches and city organizations to help families in need. This year, Goodness Invasion partnered with the Jericho Project and Unity Baptist Church to help families stock their shelves with food and help kids with much needed back -to-school supplies.
“To be able to see that there is good in this area and there is good happening, and I think our area needs things like this more often,” said Pastor Rafael Cruz, Unity Baptist Church. “To me, there is nothing greater than seeing a happy child. So, if we can make them happy, even if it’s for the moment, that brings joy to our hearts and it’s all worth it.”
Unity Baptist Lead Pastor Juan Rivera said while he knows the ongoing problem of poverty can’t be solved in a single event, people coming together to help each other shows there is goodness in the city.
“What it does do is it allows one neighbor to do an intentional act of kindness to another,” said Rivera. “We call it the Goodness Invasion because we simply want to invade Youngstown with goodness.”
Every year the event helps out about 2,000 families, but organizers hope to serve a record number of people this year. They said the reach of the project is expanded because people who typically attend for the food distribution will be able to pick up school supplies, and those who would come for the school supplies can now pick up food.
“We do thing because we love the City of Youngstown,” said Rivera. “You and I could do this pretty much anywhere in the United States. You know, I choose to be here, my family chooses to be here because we love the City of Youngstown. That is what you will see in the volunteers as you walk around here.”