Drive-Through August Overflow
For the 12th consecutive year, Abundant Life Fellowship, 46469 state Route 46, is proceeding with plans for August Overflow, although this year’s condensed community outreach event will be drive-through only because of coronavirus concerns.
Senior Pastor Jeff Schoch, coordinator of the annual event, said this year’s outreach, planned for noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 1, will be limited to distribution of school supplies, hot grill food to go and fresh produce from Second Harvest Food Bank.
“With so many community events being canceled, we wondered if there was a way to do some version of Overflow, especially since the need to help area residents may be even greater this year,” Schoch said.
One of the biggest parts of Overflow has been distribution of school supplies, with about 325 area students receiving goods last year. “Whether schools would even be open was certainly a question, but we concluded that supplies of some kind would be needed even if the students were learning at home,” Schoch said.
The school supply distribution is specifically for students in Crestview, Columbiana (including Heartland Christian), Leetonia, East Palestine, Lisbon and Beaver Local districts, as well as home-schooled students in those areas. In addition, the event serves students who are part of the five churches within the 4C’s (Crestview Churches Community Concerns) district. Besides Abundant Life, those churches include East Fairfield United Methodist, Middleton Friends Meeting, New Waterford United Methodist and Zion Lutheran.
In past years, the school supply distribution used a system in which each student received a certain amount of tickets to select whatever specific supplies are needed. “We always liked to give them a little bit of discretion is picking what they needed, even offering a variety of colors to either go along with their school district or just their preference,” Schoch said, explaining that the system in some ways was a learning opportunity for them to best use their tickets for free stuff.
This year, because it’s a drive-up-only event, the church will be distributing order sheets for each student to make their selections that will be filled on the spot by Overflow volunteers. “They won’t get to see up front exactly what they’re getting, but they or their parents will still get to make some decisions about which items are most needed and which colors are preferred,” Schoch said.
As always, the system will work on a first-come, first-served basis, this time with the recipients forming a line in their cars, with each vehicle getting a number as they arrive.
“We’re always a little amazed at how early some people arrive to get in line,” Schoch said, remembering that some years people have been there before 8 a.m. even though the doors didn’t open until noon.
Once in line, the driver or parent will receive inventory and order sheets for each student that will be filled out and then handed back to a volunteer. Also as always all recipients will be registered, so we’re continuing to ask parents or guardians to bring a driver’s license or utility bill showing proof of residency or a report card from the student’s most recent school year. Those who have received from Overflow in the past will already be in the computer system, making that process a little easier. No supplies will be distributed after the day of the event.
Patrons coming for hot grill food will be able to drive around the back of the church to the grill area to receive their choices of burgers, hot dogs, French fries and – a new addition this year – cotton candy.
Another area will be set up in front of the church for fresh produce from Second Harvest. That distribution will be based solely on whatever the food bank has available that week.
Parking lot attendants will be available to direct traffic throughout the event.
Schoch said Overflow is offered because the generosity of church volunteers and donors in addition to community supporters including the Columbiana Community Foundation, NDC Heating and Cooling of New Waterford, Graft Electric of Columbiana, A Plus Powder Coaters of Columbiana, Family Care Services of Columbiana, East Palestine and Leetonia, and Ameriprise Financial Services of Canfield. More corporate and personal sponsors are welcome and can be sent to the church office. Any questions about Overflow can be answered during weekday office hours from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 330-457-7317.
Typically, Overflow has also included a Red Cross blood drive, but a scheduling conflict with the agency made that impossible this year. Instead, that blood drive will be the day before Overflow, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 31. All donors must register ahead of time at redcrossblood.org or by calling the Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS.
Abundant Life Fellowship is an independent non-denominational church. In person services resumed in June with a corporate worship time and teaching at 10:30 a.m. and outside and inside walk and prayer time starting at 9 a.m. Social distancing protocols continue to be in place. Small groups, including Sunday school and Transformation Station children’s ministry, have not resumed on Sundays. Some midweek connection groups, including youth group, have resumed meeting.