RALEIGH — A week after a downtown Raleigh food mission wondered how it would keep pace with the growing number of homeless and poor lining up each day for lunch, a rush of new donors has emerged to help fill its dwindling pantry.
Shepherd's Table has received more than 60 checks from Raleigh-area families, retirees and businesses totaling $6,000, as well as $1,500 in food, plates and other donations over the past seven days. The bounty comes at a time of year when donations typically plunge before picking up again in the fall, said Tammy Gregory, executive director of Shepherd's Table.
"I'm hoping everybody will remember us each month throughout the summer, or maybe if they don't give now, they can give next month," Gregory said Wednesday.
The nonprofit organization, housed in the Church of the Good Shepherd, aims to keep a three-week reserve in its pantry. However, with job layoffs, rising gas prices and spiking food costs combining to lure record numbers of people last month, Gregory said that Shepherd's Table was down to a two-day supply of food last week.
Other food banks and pantries across the Triangle have reported similar spikes in demand. About 21 families a day came in July to the Capital Boulevard food pantry operated by Urban Ministries of Wake County. In May, it was up to 32 families a day, said Nancy Sumner, director of development for Urban Ministries of Wake County.
"It has gone steadily up," Sumner said of the number of families in need.
At Shepherd's Table, personal checks have continued to trickle in this week, along with new donors arriving unannounced at the mission's door.
Raleigh resident Anna McAllister and her husband, Craig, sent a check for $600 after clipping out a News & Observer article about the nonprofit last week.
"I just wish it could have been more," Anna McAllister said. "They perform a great service."
Many donations were smaller but just as welcome, Gregory said.
Pat O'Quinn said Wednesday that she has been driving around a few days with a stash of paper towels, plastic foam cups and oven mitts in her trunk for Shepherd's Table. O'Quinn, a school nurse for Wake County Schools, said she spent about $25 for the items.
"I just felt like we could do something small like this," she said. "They weren't asking for hundreds of dollars or something that could be a hardship for people. I guess that's what impressed my husband and me."
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