Sports & Fitness Ministry

From left: Isaiah Elliott, John O’Neal and John Searle, who work in Southeast’s Sports & Fitness Ministry, have been making deliveries of essentials items to Southeast campuses, ministry partners and other locations in the community. 

Numbers on a whiteboard in the Sports & Fitness Center change every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One column tracks more than 100 box truck runs. Another lists Southeast Christian Church campuses and destinations throughout Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Every run has a story. More than 100 deliveries of food or personal protective equipment met needs.

For Sports & Fitness Ministry staff members John O’Neal, John Searle and Isaiah Elliott, they also changed how three volunteers see Southeast Christian Church.

“When Sports & Fitness closed due to COVID-19, we wanted to do something,” O’Neal said. “So we volunteered to help LifeBridge with food distribution.”

LifeBridge is a branch of Southeast’s Missions Ministry, which helps alleviate poverty in the community by collecting and distributing basic items like food and clothing. LifeBridge has been hard at work during the coronavirus pandemic to meet needs locally.

Soon after O’Neal, Searle and Elliott began volunteering, LifeBridge Manager Lisa Reynolds called her three all-star drivers “three good men and a truck.”

“During most of this crisis, we were unable to call on our dedicated team of volunteers,” Reynolds said. “With food and supply deliveries needed in all areas of our communities and beyond, these three offered to do anything needed. They dropped everything to make urgently-needed deliveries on the spur of the moment.”

They’ve seen tears of gratitude as they pull up—people lined up, waiting for a box of food. They’ve seen grateful partners desperate to help people who come to them for help. And they’ve seen the face of need.

“I now see Southeast differently,” O’Neal said. “I’ve been here a long time, but I didn’t realize how many partners we support throughout the community. These deliveries allowed us to branch out and see the church in a different light.”

They took food to ministries and food banks, PPE masks and gowns to clinics, hospitals and treatment centers. Every day was different.

One day, Searle made a late run. It was raining as he unloaded pallets of food, carried boxes up steep steps and down a narrow hallway at the end of a long day.

“I knew that our ministry partners were waiting for those boxes,” he said. “That made the light at the end of the tunnel worth it all.”

Elliott drove a truck to a school in Indiana where people were lined up, waiting for food.

“I saw how much that food meant to them,” he said. “That makes it real.”

The three men are still making deliveries as needed, and numbers on the white board continue to climb.

“We’ve had fun with this,” O’Neal said. “We see some blessings and what God is doing.”

Reynolds is grateful they are just a text away, ready to help when needed.

“We had a huge need and God sent three good men and a truck,” she said.

If you would like to partner with Southeast in responding to COVID-19, visit www.southeastchristian.org/respond. There are numerous ways to serve, including writing letters to seniors, making masks and donating food to local food pantries.