Small plot produces food for the needy at Thanksgiving

Kindness grows in a small plot just off Carolina Street.

In a 55 by 55-foot plot of ground, the soil has been made rich for cabbage, collards, broccoli, peppers and rutabagas.

By the hands of a small group of congregation members from Cherry Point Baptist Church, a successful mission is under way to bring fresh fall vegetables to the mouths of the needy in Havelock.

“It’s a way that we get out church members involved in helping our community and feeding our community and people that don’t have the availability of fresh vegetables and those kinds of things,” said Pastor Steve Epperson. “We felt like this is what God led us to do.”

So when the Havelock-Cherry Point Ministerial Association hands out Thanksgiving boxes for needy families this week, fresh leafy greens will be part of the offering.

“We have delivered probably 5,000 or 6,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to our food pantry here,” Epperson said.

On Monday, Epperson joined Marion Sykes, Jim Bailey and Clayton Turner in walking through the muddy rows to slice off bags full of the vegetables to take to the pantry, one last delivery before the holiday.

“If you ask the people at the food pantry, we can’t bring enough over,” Sykes said. “They’re gone. They are usually sitting there waiting for us when we come in, and I’ve had people help me unload the truck because they are so anxious to get them.”

The pantry will help about 70 families this Thanksgiving with mostly dry or canned goods, and besides the turkey or ham purchased with a small gift certificate, the greens from the garden will be the only fresh part of the meal.

“This is a great relief for the people because they don’t get good fresh stuff,” Sykes said. “All the stuff is packaged or canned, so this is a good nutritional thing. This is very good healthy eating here. The food pantry is very appreciative and this is just part of the mission at Cherry Point.”

Every Tuesday, the church feeds about 75 people, and this Tuesday was its Thanksgiving meal.

“We’re concerned about hunger in our community,” Sykes said. “As a result of that, we just have kind of a knack and love for missions.”

Epperson said the Thanksgiving meal comes from the church members.

“You won’t believe it,” he said. “Our people have come together and have brought home cooked food for people that were not going to be able to have it.”

Volunteer Jim Bailey started the garden three years ago with Sykes and others in the congregation.

“I do it just to help out our poor members of the community and it makes me feel good to know that I am coming here to help feed so many people,” Bailey said. “That’s really about it. I just try to help out as best I can.”