People look over free clothing offered during last year’s Culture of Compassion giveaway in Rumford, which also offered free school supplies and groceries. This Saturday’s event will be a little different because of COVID-19. Rumford Falls Times file photo

RUMFORD — The ninth annual Culture of Compassion giveaway will take place this Saturday, but things will be a little different because of COVID-19, according to Praise Assembly of God Church Pastor Justin Thacker.

The yearly event, which offers free school supplies, gently used clothing and groceries for needy families in the River Valley, will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Three Fields, across from Aubuchon Hardware.

“We are signing people up (50 people per 40 minutes) similar to how we do the Thanksgiving Giveaway. The 10 a.m. hour is already booked up. We have time slots available for 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m.,” he said, adding that folks may pre-register no later than noon on Thursday.

Thacker said this year’s theme is “Loving One Another.” Volunteers will be wearing red shirts with this theme written on the back.

There will be no medical tent, but Dr. Jacob Ledesma will be there answering questions about COVID-19 and addressing any concerns folks may have. There is no Kids Zone this year.

There will be the Hope Zone, clothing, back to school supplies, pre-packaged food to be distributed, and a pre-packaged lunch given to every person as they leave.

If anyone would like to donate clothing, food, school supplies, or financially, they can go to the Church at 89 Congress St., Rumford. Donations can also be sent to Praise Assembly of God Church, P.O Box 269, Rumford 04276.

The church office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to noon; call 364-3856

“Children’s clothing is always something we can use, as long as it’s clean and gently used,” Ledesma said.

Volunteers will be wearing “Servant” shirts in a turquoise color. They wear a different color for each Culture of Compassion event.

There will be tents, so this is a rain or shine event.

Following the giveaway, church members will begin planning for the annual Thanksgiving basket giveaway.

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