TOPSAIL ISLAND — Saturday mornings on the North Carolina coast often witness the mass of exodus of residents returning to their day-to day lives. With a frantic packing of the car, a surplus of unused food can often be disregarded and discarded.
Friends Feeding Friends is aiming to take advantage of this large amount of uneaten food. The program an outreach of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel will donate the food to the Share the Table food pantry.
The idea for the food pantry began at the end of last summer as a beach-side conversation between Bryant Mende of Charlotte and Julia Sherron of Topsail.
It just began to be in our minds and hearts that there had to be a need for food, Sherron said. Lots of food was going off this island.
Planning continued into the winter, with Sherron and her husband, Frank, getting word out within the Topsail community.
Everyone was like, Gosh I was hoping someone would do this or Yes, there is a need for this, Sherron said. It was a ripe moment for the idea.
On June 21, Friends held its first food collection. A large donation from a local restaurant, The Beach Shop and Grill, added to the 340 pounds of food collected for Share the Table. In addition to its food pantry, Share the Table operates a soup kitchen and a backpack program that delivering backpacks full of food to qualifying children every week.
Were feeding 500 people, so its nice that food is being given back to the community, Dawn Ellis, volunteer coordinator at Share the Table.
Mende and Sherron modeled Friends Helping Friends after a similar program in Holden Beach, A Second Helping. Bill Spier of Charlotte started that in 2005.
I saw a need to make a connection with people who wanted to do something about throwing out food ... with someone who needed food, Spier said. I provide that short link.
A Second Helping has collected and donated more than 115,000 pounds of food to two food pantries. Nonperishable food goes to Brunswick Island Baptist Church, and perishable food is donated to Sharon United Methodist Church.
When the program began, Spier said 20 to 30 pounds of food were donated every Saturday by locals and vacationers alike. Now, 1,500 to 2,000 pounds are collected each week.
A Second Helping also operates out of Emerald Isle.
Almost from the beginning I wanted to see it spread to all vacation areas, including the mountains, he said. Weve even had some people that have picked up the idea in South Carolina.
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