In this day of COVID-19, many organizations are stepping up to help residents in the Lakeway Area who face food insecurity.

On Monday, the congregation of The Avenue Church and Operation Inasmuch joined together to distribute enough food to feed 500 families.

Pastor Justin Graham of The Avenue said that this was a chance for the independent non-denominational church to help the community.

“We partnered with Operation Inasmuch and we want to be able to provide assistance any way we can,” Graham said. “It’s obviously hard on families. We wanted to reach out to families who aren’t able to work right now and try to help them with income and food.”

Operation Inasmuch Director Gene Whaley had previously talked to Graham about the possibility of a food giveaway.

“It worked out as this pandemic developed, we got together and made it happen,” Whaley said. “Food packing is not our main focus of our ministry, but it’s something that has become more popular in the last couple of years.”

Each family was given 50 meals, according to Graham. The food was purchased by the church and delivered by Operation Inasmuch.

“It’s one of these times where we’re trying to be creative and we’re trying to bring in as much help and hope as possible,” Graham said. “It’s an opportunity for the church to do what we’re supposed to do. This is a chance for the church and our community to join in and help each other out.”

Graham, who has been pastor since The Avenue began in 2013, said that the COVID-19 situation would not break our people, but make families stronger.

Last year, Operation Inasmuch was able to pack more than 450,000 meals across three states, according to Whaley.

“It’s becoming a growing niche of our ministry,” Whaley said. “There is going to be a need for food and it worked out to get with The Avenue on this.”

“Our mission at The Avenue is to show the world who Jesus is and to invite the world to experience His love and hope,” Graham said.

As with most churches, The Avenue is streaming services online at this time. Service times are 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays.

Operation Inasmuch is a worldwide ministry with 2,300 churches in 26 states and five countries have used this ministry for the last 25 years.

“I’m hoping that churches in our Lakeway Area who want to do more outside the community will contact me,” Whaley said. “If people want to learn more about Operation Inasmuch, I’d like to talk with them. We train, equip and walk alongside churches as they also have a heart to serve their communities.

“We are so honored in helping out with this feeding. We knew that there are bigger needs out there, but we’re here for needs that come up. The main focus is that we want to work with churches and see the body of Christ outside the four walls of the church and in the community serving through acts of compassion.

The Avenue Church can be reached at 423-231-4719. Operation Inasmuch can be reached at 865-951-2511.

The Avenue to host online services

The Avenue will be offering all services exclusively online Sunday, March 29th and Sunday, April 5th. Services will be on Facebook Live through its Facebook page and on the church website

Service times are 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.