Pastor Laticia Godette didn’t care what color you were or what church you went to. If you were needy, she just wanted you to come by the Hyman Chapel AME Zion Church and fill a bag or a box to take home and feed your family.
"We just want to be a blessing to the community. This is a vision of the holistic approach to ministry, emotionally, spiritually, financially, the whole person," Godette said as she watched people from Havelock, Harlowe and other places stock up.
The event was held from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and was the first of a series of monthly giveaways.
"We’re going to do this the last Tuesday of every month. No requirements, no identification. There’s no qualification, no racial barriers. Who so ever may come. We just want to be a blessing to the whole community," Godette said.
In about two hours more than 250 had come to fill bags from a big pile sweet potatoes from the North Carolina Food Bank and boxes with milk, vegetables, yogurt, canned goods, pizza, juices, blueberries, macaroni and cheese, fruit boxes, cole slaw, cereal, bananas, apples, rice and beans. Members of the church congregation were manning stations inside the church where the food was being given out.
"So many people are in need. These are rough times. We gave away 50 gallons of milk already," Godette said. "It’s not a white thing, a black thing, a Hispanic thing. We’ve had everybody. We are concerned about the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ."
Godette hoped a mountainous pile of 10,000 sweet potatoes would get the attention of motorists along N.C. 101 just outside Havelock.
"We want everybody to be able to ride by and see them and get some of them," she said.
Carrie Triplett, of Swansboro, came by to get a box of goods.
"It’s helping me and my family out because I’m not on food stamps any more. It’;s a big help," Triplett said.
Arnesia Frazier, of Adams Creek, was getting a bag of sweet potatoes. ‘
"I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s the greatest thing that’s happened to us in a long while. This is great what they’re doing for everybody."
Anna M. Wilson, of Havelock, filled bags with sweet potatoes at the pile beside the church.
"It’s a big blessing. A lot of people can’t get to the stores.," she said of the event.
The church is located 4.2 miles east of Havelock at 2180 N.C. 101.