RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — Eastside Community Church kicked off its holiday food drive with a visit from former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry on Sunday.
Strawberry spent 17 seasons in the MLB, helping both the Mets and the New York Yankees win the World Series.
During this time, Strawberry struggled with substance abuse that would ultimately play a role in ending his career.
He touched on his personal struggles in a sermon to the Eastside Community Church congregation.
“I’m bringing a message of hope,” Strawberry said. “There are all these people who are probably struggling with depression, substance abuse and everything else going on during the crisis that we’re in. I’m bringing a word from God to encourage their heart so they can at least have a chance to feel better about where they are right now.”
Strawberry is currently a minister in Missouri. He credits his faith for ‘pulling him out of a storm,’ and is encouraging others to turn to the same place in difficult times.
“When you’ve been changed and transformed, you see life differently and you know it’s real and you know it’s possible it can happen for them too,” Strawberry said. “I would direct people to go back to the principle of trusting God and His will in all circumstances of life.”
Eastside Community Church used Strawberry’s visit as an opportunity to launch its holiday food drive.
“With Darryl here today, it really helped bring some new excitement to the food drive,” said outreach coordinator Tammy Cole. “The food drive ties perfectly with [his sermon] as we serve others and reach out to our community in Madison County.”
The church is collecting ‘Christmas items’ to help local families prepare holiday dinners. They are asking for items including corn, green beans, stuffing, and cake mix, as well as non-perishables.
“We think the food drive is one way to give back to the community and let folks know there is hope and there are people in the community that truly care about the families. We think it’s more important than ever that people feel loved and feel like there is hope,” Cole said.
“We need good things. We’ve seen enough bad things, so we really need good things to take place in this country,” Strawberry said.
Eastside Community Church is collecting items for the food drive until December 12.