Blood Drive, gas & grocery
giveaways begin July 20th

IMLAY CITY — Gateway Assembly church members are prepping for their annual “This Heart Loves Week,” a series of community giveaways that kicks off Monday, July 20 with a Community Blood Drive from 1-7 p.m. at the Gateway campus, 2796 S. Van Dyke Rd. (M-53) in Imlay City.

Paula Bellhorn, Gateway’s Missions Administrative Assistant, said the church is partnering with the American Red Cross to help meet the urgent need for donors during a critical time.

“Because walk-in registrations are not being accepted at this time,” said Bellhorn, “the Red Cross is only accepting online registrations to donate blood.”
As an option, Bellhorn asks those wishing to be donors to visit the Red Cross website at www. Sponsor=GateWay to schedule an appointment to donate blood.

Young volunteers help promote the 2019 Gas Giveaway. Church members will be pumping discounted and free gas again this year on Tuesday, July 21 at the Imlay City Marathon Quick Mart station.

Gas Giveaway

On Tuesday, July 21, Gateway will host its 5th Annual Gas Giveaway from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Imlay City Marathon Quick Mart station at 546 N. Cedar St. (M-53).

Hundreds of local residents have taken advantage of discounted gas prices ($1 off per gallon) and free fill-ups for U.S. Military veterans and active duty personnel in the past.

With the COVID-19 crisis still at the forefront of people’s concerns, Bellhorn reminds that first responders are also eligible for free fillups.

“At last year’s Gas Giveaway, we were able to serve 650 people and provide 456 vehicles with gas,” Bellhorn said. “That included 241 veterans and 26 first responders that we were able to bless with a free fill-up.”

Grocery Giveaway

On Thursday, July 23, Gateway members host their well-attended Grocery Giveaway from 9 a.m. – noon at the church campus.

Bellhorn said Gateway was able to bless and assist 254 families at last year’s Grocery Giveaway, which translated to enough food for a total household of 889 family members.

“We are looking to do the same this year,” she said.

Community Giveback

“This Heart Loves Week” culminates on Saturday, July 25 with a Community Giveback from 9 a.m – 3 p.m. at the Gateway Campus.

Bellhorn said the Community Giveback will look differently this year due to continuing public health concerns.

“We will still be able to bless our community with free backpacks filled with school supplies (students must be present), health checkups, medication reviews for senior citizens, sports physicals.

“We are partnering with Dr. Laura Zelenak of Imlay City Family Practice in our medical area during Saturday’s Community Giveback,” Bellhorn said. “Imlay City Family Practice will be providing the health checks, sports physicals and other services for the community.”

She noted that oil changes and vehicle inspections are by appointment only, by calling the Gateway office at 810-724-8110 to make an appointment.

Gateway’s mission

Bellhorn said that the currently challenging times call for a uniquely generous and supportive response on the part of Gateway members,

“One of the most common questions we are asked, is why are we doing this,” said Bellhorn. “Right now, it is sometimes hard for our culture to understand the generosity and support that we are blessed to do.”

She noted the comments shared by a local Vietnam veteran at a past gas giveaway, who said it was the first time since he had returned home from Vietnam, that he had felt so appreciated and thanked for being a veteran.

“With all that people have been going through,” Bellhorn said, “with things being canceled, shut down and changed, we want to provide hope to others through our outreach endeavors; while still maintaining the practices needed to protect our community and our Gateway family.”

Bellhorn alluded to Gateway Pastor Jeff Krist’s vision of Gateway’s role within the community.

“Our role is to simply show Jesus’ love to those in our community and offer spiritual growth. The essence of the mission is that Jesus came not be served, but to serve.

“It is through these opportunities of serving, whether by providing food or coming alongside someone to help with gas, or even just praying with them, that is the mission of This Heart Loves and Gateway Assembly.”

For further information about Gateway Assembly’s 2020 This Heart Loves Week and various activities, call 810-724-8110 or visit Gateway’s website or Facebook page.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.