BY ANDREAS BUTLER
A crowd started lining up for food at the old YMCA building on Derbyshire Road on Wednesday morning. What they received were free groceries and words of encouragement.
By 1:30 p.m., more than 400 people had received groceries through The Mind of Christ Ministries Mobile Food Drop Program and more food was yet to be given out.
The program fed a record 1,024 families last month. It’s open to the public and there’s no identification needed or red tape to go through to receive the food.
“We are just being a blessing and feeding the people in the community and surrounding communities. We look forward to doing greater things,” said Pastor Victor L. Miles Sr. of The Mind of Christ Ministries. The church is located at 1202 S. Ridgewood Ave., Daytona Beach.
‘Grown and progressed’
The old YMCA building is owned by the Islamic Center of Daytona Beach, which brought the property years ago.
“We don’t have the parking space at our church so the Islamic Center allows us to use this location to bless the people. We have been here at this location for about three months. We thank them,” Miles said.
The program has been going on since 2014. The food is passed out in the YMCA parking lot area every fourth Wednesday of the month from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“The event has really grown and progressed. We are very progressive. We get to go and pick the food ourselves,” said Evangelist Dynel Miles. She co-pastors the Mind of Christ Ministries with her husband, Pastor Victor Miles Sr.
Those who showed up on Wednesday received a variety of food items such as chicken, ribs, rice, canned goods, cabbage, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, snacks, food packs for homeless who can’t cook, MREs (military meals ready to eat), fruits and vegetables.
“This definitely serves the community, including the homeless, veterans and low-income families,” the evangelist said.
Residents like retired Army veteran Berkley Bell are glad to see more help for the community.
Bell told the Daytona Times, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community. This is fulfilling to a lot of people, especially after Hurricane Irma and other circumstances.’’
The food is provided through Second Harvest Food Bank, which has a partnership with the church through its 501©(3) non-profit status.
“This is open to the public. This is our ministry. We are Christians. We love God and we love God’s people. We try to provide a resource that nobody’s need goes unmet,” added Evangelist Miles.
There are other churches that provide free food, including those in the Black community at Master’s Domain Church of Christ and Hope Fellowship Church.
No ID needed
The Mind of Christ Ministries sees a large need for feeding services and other services in the community.
“There is a big need in the community to feed people. A lot of times when they go to get food at other programs and places, there is a lot of red tape. You have to live in that area or residence, but here we just give out food. We don’t ask for ID.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, people are still in need of food.
“We’ve seen a larger need for assistance and larger crowds. I thought it would decrease since the government did provide SNAP (food stamps) benefits, but we have seen larger crowds. I also believe that it is so expensive to buy food nowadays. A pack of bacon can cost from $4.99 to $7.99,” she explained.
The ministry also gave away toiletries and household items.
“We give out pampers, washing powder and toilet paper when we have it,’’ the evangelist said.
The Mind of Christ Ministries also has a Food Alliance program and a store that allows them to pick up food from Winn Dixie in Daytona Beach Shores on Mondays and Fridays.
The Miles also host The Mind of Christ Ministries Power of Pray radio show on 106.3 AM on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The next food giveaway at the old YMCA building – 825 Derbyshire Road – is Nov. 22. The following date is Dec. 27.