It was a bucket brigade, but instead of water, the group was moving fruits and vegetables.
Members of the congregation of Cherry Point United Methodist Church turned out Tuesday to load 4,500 pounds of food that had been donated by Food Lion as part of the store’s Food Lion Feeds program.
That’s a lot of oranges, apples, carrots, potatoes and onions. That’s just half of it. Also on the pallets were canned vegetables, peanut butter, tuna fish, fruit cups and oatmeal.
“We’re going to use part of it in our meals program on Wednesdays and Fridays,” said organizer Kim Rice. “We’re also going to make it available to all of the families who participate to take it home. A large number of the families we serve are in the Roger Bell, Havelock Middle and Havelock Elementary districts, so their schools have notified their families that we have the food available.”
The lunch program is called Summer Café and is feeding anywhere from 25 to 100 people a day.
“We also deliver some of it to the elderly. We’ve kind of expanded and call is Matthew 25 Fund because we deliver plates to elderly and shut ins and then we provide weekend bags to Havelock Middle School every weekend during the school year, so it’s kind of grown beyond the summer program. Some of that, like the fruit cups, will go into the weekend bags once school starts back,” Rice said.
The food came after Food Lion manager Kelly Webster suggested that Rice fill out an application for the Food Lion Fees program.
“What they did was call her and ask her exactly what she needed and here a week later here’s the food,” Webster said. “I’m excited, because anytime we can give back to the community and do what’s right for the community is wonderful. We’re a grocery store and sell food, so we should be able to give food back to the community.”
The food came through Havelock’s Food Lion store number 1332, located on Greenfield Heights Boulevard.
“We’re thrilled,” said Nedra George, who is manager of the store. “It’s absolutely delightful. Kim came in here one day and say we don’t have any bags for our recycle bin and I said here’s a whole box. That’s kind of how it all got started. We’ve helped them three times now.”
“I know growing up sometimes it can be hard and this will help tons and tons of families,” George said.
That’s a point well understood by congregation member Jimmy Sanders, who was in the brigade moving the fresh food.
“There are a lot of needy folks out there that really don’t know where their next meal is coming from. It’s in Havelock but it’s all over. I just saw a statistic yesterday that said one out of five children in the United States is hungry. That’s terrible,” Sanders said.
“I would say right off the bat that Christ commands us to feed,” said Cherry Point UMC Pastor Mark Woods. “He commands us to take care of those who are in need at the time. All of us at one time are down on our luck or down in some way. If we have the means to help people in some way we’ll do it as a church because that is what we’re commanded to do. It’s part of how we love and part of how we are part of our community. How we are part of the Havelock community as well is to feed, so to us it is a way in which we show Christ’s love.”
Rice said the more than two tons of food will go a long way in feeding the needy in the Havelock area. People sometimes forget that there are others in need some times, she said.
“You get comfortable in you homes and you just forget that there might be people right next door to you that might be hungry,” Rice said. “And people think that you have to be in need on a consistent basis to need help and a lot of people just need occasional help. They get in a bind. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what poverty is.”
“This is huge, but they have helped us all along with things that we’ve done,” Rice said of the support from the grocery chain. “They have always been a huge supporter of our program.”