MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — Volunteers along with Feeding America West Michigan loaded dozens of cars full of fresh foods during a mobile food pantry in Marquette on Wednesday.

One of those volunteers was Gerry Evans. He said he also goes by “The Deacon,” simply because he’s an ordained Deacon from New York City.

“I’m out here today because part of my ministry, the Deacon ministry is to help serve and share God’s love through volunteering and serving. We go to soup kitchens and things helping people wherever we can,” Evans said.

Evans has been in the Upper Peninsula since Thanksgiving 2020. Before that, he spent years traveling around the country, helping where help was needed.

“I was in Houston, Texas for three years before I came here. I went there right after (Hurricane) Harvey. I did a lot of missionary work down there. I stayed there for like three years, then I was in New Orleans for two months after Hurricane Delta hit Lake Charles. I was doing some work there with the Red Cross, too. Then a pastor friend I was down there with told me about the Room at the Inn shelter. So, I came up here to help them out,” Evans said.

Evans said COVID-19 brought on both a hunger for the food and also the spirit.

“Being that there is a genuine need, especially with COVID and a lot of things going on. It’s not just the physical and the spiritual. And if you talk to people and just listen, you’ll get an understanding of what their needs are. Then you’re able to just be yourself,” Evans said. “Sometimes, all we need is someone to listen to us, someone to give us hope. There is a better day, tomorrow will be better.”

To find a mobile food pantry near you or to learn more about Feeding America West Michigan, visit its website.