PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Palm Beach County church is spreading joy and giving thanks to first responders and seniors in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Since the pandemic hit Florida, Christ Fellowship said it has been focusing on helping four populations: the food insecure, single parents, the elderly and medical professionals.
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In April, they started a campaign where church members surprise people at stores and pay their grocery bill.
Christ Fellowship showed up to four different Publix grocery stores during designated shopping hours for first responders and seniors, surprising the unsuspecting shoppers by paying their bills.
Becky Kyle, the director of missions at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, said they like to keep it a secret until the last moment.
"We actually try to keep it as big of a surprise as possible, so usually people load up all of their groceries and start ringing it up, and they are not even paying attention to us. So, we are usually right at the end of the register and put our credit card in just to let them know that we wanted to bless them that day," said Kyle.
Over the past few weeks, the church said they paid for the grocery trips of nearly 300 people.
Christ Fellowship said they also specifically targeted its outreach to two Publix stores located near medical centers in Boynton Beach and Port St. Lucie.
"We've purchased groceries down in the Boynton Beach area all the way up to Port St. Lucie and out to Okeechobee," said Kyle. "We had one senior who we purchased groceries for and they just had tears streaming down their face."
"Until the need is over, we are going to be out in the community -- whether it's food distributions, visiting hospitals, buying people's groceries at Publix. We want what we are doing to be a reflection of God's love for this community," said Kyle.
The church said they are looking forward to doing more grocery-paying surprises in addition to food distributions in several communities.
Below are the eight drive-up food distribution sites that Christ Fellowship Church is helping to conduct across South Florida this week:
• Tuesday, May 5 at Christ Fellowship Palm Beach Gardens from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Feeding South Florida and the City of Palm Beach Gardens
• Wednesday, May 6 at Commons Park in Royal Palm Beach from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Feeding South Florida and the Village of Royal Palm Beach
• Wednesday, May 6 at Harriett Himmel Theatre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with Palm Beach Harvest and Rosemary Square
• Wednesday, May 6 at Agric Civic Center in Okeechobee from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Feeding South Florida
• Thursday, May 7 at Christ Fellowship Stuart from 7 a.m. to noon with Treasure Coast Food Bank
• Thursday, May 7 at Christ Fellowship Belle Glade at 11 a.m.
• Friday, May 8 at FAU Jupiter Campus from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Feeding South Florida and the Town of Jupiter
• Saturday, May 9 at Christ Fellowship Boynton Beach from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Feeding South Florida and the City of Boynton Beach