Never let it be said some retail businesses can’t think outside of the big box. Local Food Lion Grocery stores donated 74 cases of dry goods and frozen items to the Carroll County Ministerial Association Food Pantry on Oct. 20.
“I think it’s (the “Food Lion Feeds” initiative) the least we can do for the communities we operate in,” said Retail Specialist Bryan Bowen. “These are our neighbors and friends we are helping out, not customers.” According to the company’s website, the effort’s core belief is that hunger shouldn’t be a choice for struggling individuals and families.
The firm reports one in five children nationally don’t get the nutrition they need while one in 12 seniors face an empty plate. According to the company, American families are choosing between dinner and rent and groceries or gas. The goal of the 10-state effort is to serve 500,000,000 meals by 2020. The initiative’s approach is hunger is a problem which can be solved together.
Food Lion 236 in Hillsville Store Manager Todd Simpson said the initiative has been going on for more than a year. He said one of his deli associates suggested the store help out the Pantry with a donation, a request was sent to the firm’s corporate office and 74 cases of dry goods and frozen items were donated and delivered to the First United Methodist Church in Hillsville.
“I am proud to be working for a company that does things like this,” Simpson said. Sowers and Simpson agreed the grocery business, at its core, is service to people. They said for them reacting was a simple matter because they routinely encounter people who rely on them for their needs. They stressed grocery stores have a history of involvement not only as a business but as a community leaders.
Other Food Lion associates who helped on the delivery included Radford Store Manager Mike Quesenberry and Pulaski Store Manager Jeff Mankins and retail specialists Ross Sexton and Jason Blevins. Ministerial Association spokesperson Pastor Robert Smith, Office Assistant Rita Bolen and Coordinator Al Gill said the pantry needs monetary donations as well.
The three said food donations lately have been going well although the numbers of families and individuals served is up with more than 800 registered in the database.
The Food Pantry is a non-profit community service operation under the Ministerial Association and housed at the church. It’s regular operating hours for dispensing groceries are Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 12 noon excluding holidays. Needs may be satisfied at other times depending on availability of resources with every effort is made to accommodate needs.
Requests for food assistance are typically referred by the Carroll County Department of Social Services, but requests can be authorized by ministers in the Carroll County Ministerial Association. Usually a form is completed by the church office bearing the recipient’s name, address, phone number, number of adults, and number of children. The original form is provided to the Food Pantry volunteer for filling the request based on the number of persons in the family. A copy of the form is filed in the church office.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on [email protected]