An Easter Bounty
Even in a time of crisis, The Lords Food Pantry finds a way to feed those in need.
“You are angels!”
“This is a blessing!”
“I’m laid off. My sister is laid off, and we are taking care of our father. This is a life saver.”
The heartfelt kudos continued for almost three hours on Easter Saturday, as a rosary of vehicles lined up in the Camp United Methodist Church parking lot in Shallotte. Drivers representing 80 local families expressed their gratitude for the platoon of volunteers who packed their car-trunks with donated food and personal hygiene items at The Lord’s Food Pantry, a ministry of the South Brunswick Interchurch Council (SBIC).
The event routinely takes place weekly, but in a time of great worldwide illness and death due to the coronavirus, the group was forced to think outside the box and institute a drive-thru distribution over the past couple of weeks. “This is to keep both the clients and the volunteers as safe and virus-free as possible,” Food Pantry Coordinator Mary Pritchard said.
If changing the entire indoor system wasn’t challenging enough, the pantry faced additional concerns this past weekend. Not only did one of the big local churches shut down its food pantry for safety reasons, another church that normally sends volunteers to The Lords Food Pantry decided it, too, could not do so under the present circumstances. Pritchard envisioned serving a much bigger audience at “Camp,” and with fewer workers to get it done.
She was right about the former. The average number of families served is 63, representing 240 family members. On Easter Saturday, 331 people received help. Pritchard signaled an 11th-hour call to action netting a whopping 17 helpers from St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church, Shallotte Presbyterian, New Beginnings Community Church and the Shallotte Elks Club. The Elks additionally threw in a financial gift, enabling every family to receive a special Easter Breakfast Bag along with the usual three-day supply of emergency groceries.
Not a single volunteer interviewed expressed reservations about coming. Donned with gloves and masks, and staying at least 6 feet apart, they served 25 percent more families and 61 percent more people than Easter weekend 2019. SBIC President Mike Claxton was there, immersed in a sea of brimming grocery bags. “This is a labor of love we do every Saturday,” Claxton said. “There’s a growing number of unemployed in the county due to COVID-19. We just want to do what we can to help people get by.”
Sharon Wilson of New Beginnings Church volunteered as well. “I’m blessed to have everything I need, and I am here to help people who don’t,” Wilson said.
“For the least of these,” added Deborah Claxton of Shallotte Presbyterian, quoting scripture.
“To do God’s service,” Bobbie Beckley of St. Brendan’s chimed in.
In a time of great crisis, and on the most holy weekend in Christianity – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the faithful came together to give their community’s brothers and sisters a lift.
“Thank you guys for working,” a disabled war veteran said from his rolled-down car window.
“It’s so kind of these people to be out doing this for us – during this sad time – and during an Easter holiday,” a heart-touched recipient proclaimed as she heads home with her daily bread.
“I’ve known many of these people for years and consider them friends. I will not let them down,” Pritchard vowed.
Can you help?
Members of the community who would like to volunteer on a periodic basis can call Pritchard at (910) 579-4684.