Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
People were already lining up when the gates opened Saturday morning, welcoming them to the Single Parents Fair at Christ Community Church in Portsmouth. The annual event offers struggling families help providing free food, clothes, oil changes, haircuts, dental work, and lots of family fun.
“In the Book of James, in the New Testament, James writes and says that your religion is taking care of the fatherless and the widows in their affliction. We kind of view the single parents as today’s widows in our culture today. So we feel like this is really an opportunity for us to be able to obey the scripture, and care for people who really have the need,” said Pastor Rick Clark of Christ Community Church.
Nearly 200 single-parent families — more than 500 people — pre-registered for the event, getting first shot at everything there was to offer. Moore said usually only about two-thirds of the families who register will actually show up when the gates open at 9 a.m. Then at 10:30 a.m., the church opens the fair to non-registered single-parent families until noon.
“We say noon, but we’ll stay until everyone quits coming or until we get rid of everything,” said fair coordinator Neva Moore.
Food was provided by the Freestore Foodbank through the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, and clothing was all donated to the church. Each family was invited to pick out six free outfits for each member of their family. On the parking lot outside, church members were helping out with free oil changes with supplies donated by Glockner, and Dr. Tracy Murray also opened his dental practice on Gallia Street to registered families. There also was free school supplies, haircuts, and games for the kids.
Clark said it brings joy to see the families getting help.
“Some of the children are a little timid if they’ve never been here before. They’re a little afraid because this is so huge and there are so many people here. But by the time they leave the building they have big smiles on their face. It is very joyful,” Moore said.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.