In partnership with Feeding the Gulf Coast, Crosspoint Church’s North Crestview campus served more than 350 Okaloosa County families at its food distribution April 17.

This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to the Northwest Florida Daily News.

CRESTVIEW – Crosspoint Church advertised the time as 10 a.m. Friday.


Pastor Jeff Burnett arrived at 6:45 a.m. and cars were already waiting for the food distribution to start. In partnership with Feeding the Gulf Coast, a local extension of Feeding America, the Church distributed 10,000 pounds of groceries to what Burnett estimates as between 350 and 400 families.


"We’re serving the Lord by trying to connect our community to Christ," Burnett said. "Our goal was to feed newly employed and underemployed families. Underemployed families being the ones who are used to working 40 hours a week and their hours are cut down to 20 … if it was happening in our own church congregation, we knew it was happening in the community."


Food ran out before the cars did. Crosspoint’s main campus in Niceville will host another distribution Friday and Burnett suspects more to come.


The process was simple.


Crestview Police directed traffic into the parking lot, where masked Church volunteers approached car windows and collected names, addresses and number of family members. They asked drivers to provide their IDs, a requirement because Feeding the Gulf Coast is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, a government agency. The number of family members was asked so volunteers could determine the appropriate amount of groceries.


Then, cars pulled up to the front of the Church, where volunteers loaded groceries for them.


"They’re popping their trunks so there’s no interaction," Burnett said. "We’re trying to be socially responsible and keep the social distancing thing going."


Groceries included all of the pantry staples.



"Everything from fresh produce, lots of frozen meats, dairy – things like butter – breads, cookies, crackers; we’ve had a ton of pastries," Burnett said. "Anything a normal family would pick up from a grocery store, that’s what we’re trying to accommodate."


Every single car showed gratitude, Burnett said.


"Every single one without question has stopped and said, ‘Thank you,’ through the windows," Burnett said. "Some of them hold up little handwritten signs that say, ‘Thank you,’ through the window. We’re honored to serve our community. We know the love of Christ ourselves. We’re so excited we have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ."


Crestview resident Margaret Stanley was among those thankful. She heard about the distribution from a friend and was relieved to have the support.


"It’s a blessing from God," Stanley said. "I’m disabled. We’ve just been trying to stay safe and stay out of the way."


While not a city function, Crestview Mayor JB Whitten was also in attendance. He was impressed with Crestview Police Department’s large turnout and work ethic, especially as he watched an officer jumpstart a car with a dead battery in the church parking lot.


Whitten scouted out the process to prepare for future food distributions in the community and show his support for the church’s effort.


"I’m glad they’re doing it," Whitten said. "The theme we came up with as the city of Crestview was a ‘Community Coming Together,’ and that’s exactly what’s happening here."