11 sonriseThe SonRise evangelistic outreach ministry based in Hope Mills has had a simple philosophy since it went into operation six years ago.

Scotty Sweatt, one of the founders of SonRise, said the purpose of the organization is to meet people where they are and show them who Jesus Christ is.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, SonRise has added another role to its outreach purpose, one that’s more hands-on than just sharing the message of the Gospel.

They recently instituted a program called Adopt-A-Granny. In a nutshell, it’s aimed primarily at senior citizens who are wary of getting out and shopping for themselves because of risk to exposure to infection by the COVID-19 virus.

To help that group, SonRise will go and do the grocery shopping for at-risk people who would prefer to remain home bound then deliver the purchases to their door in a safe manner, observing proper social distancing restrictions.

While the SonRise operation is based in Hope Mills, it has no physical location by design. The headquarters for SonRise is a converted school bus that includes a chapel and a kitchen inside. On the outside, the bus is decorated with the words “The Church has Left the Building” on front and back.

Membership of SonRise includes people who represent a variety of denominations. Sweatt was a youth minister for nine years at a small country church.

The concern for the elderly started weeks ago when Sweatt began to realize some of his elderly neighbors didn’t have family available to check on them. His wife also began checking on people in need. That led Sweatt to get the entire SonRise team involved.

Currently, the SonRise team tries to reach out to anyone in the general Cumberland County area, but they are limited by whether or not someone involved in the ministry actually lives where people who reach out to them are located.

Sweatt said he recently got a call from a woman in Spring Lake. They weren’t able to send someone directly to help with shopping, but Sweatt said the woman was actually just glad to talk to someone who would listen to her and offer words of comfort.

While SonRise isn’t actively seeking donations, Sweatt said anyone who would like to contribute to the ministry to help with the Adopt-A-Granny outreach is welcome to do so.

In order to arrange a delivery, the number to call is 910-960-7786.

The process is fairly simple, Sweatt said. The caller provides SonRise with a list of the items that they would like to have purchased. SonRise then sends someone to buy the needed food and deliver it to the home. The food is wiped down with disinfectant and the person who delivers it wears a mask and drops it off outdoors, standing a safe distance away to confirm delivery was made and to speak briefly with the person who the food was delivered to.

While the emphasis of Adopt-A-Granny is on senior citizens, Sweatt said the SonRise team is happy to talk with anyone regardless of age who is homebound or at risk and would rather not venture out during the pandemic.

“We are not going to rule out anybody,’’ Sweatt said. “We’ll give them a smiling face if nothing else.’’

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