Community food pantries are needed the most in the summer months when many children are home without the free and reduced meals offered at school.
Unfortunately, donations to food pantries often fall off during the summer months as families travel and are involved in other activities.
That’s one of the reasons that Aversboro Road Baptist Church recently had a “Can Do” Sunday.
The church membership collected 1,324 cans of food that will be contributed to Garner Community of Hope and to Garner Area Ministries.
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“The goal was 1,000 cans,” said Susan Gray, a member of the ARBC Benevolence Committee. “We were asking each member to bring one can.”
But some members brought their cans by the case as the stack of canned goods in the sanctuary continued to grow week by week in June. Eventually, the stack stretched more than eight feet high.
“We’re thrilled,” Gray said. “We wanted to do something that would help the community and our people responded.”
Amy White, the executive director of Community of Hope, said the donation was very timely.
“Summer months present the strongest challenges to the Community of Hope food pantry,” White said. “Donations from partnering agencies and the general public sharply decrease as summer vacations begin for many local families. Therefore, the pantry experiences its highest demand during the summer months.
“Families who normally rely on federal lunch subsidies count on area food pantries in order to feed their hungry families during the summer months. It is a tremendous blessing when a local church will sponsor a food drive for us.”
Carol Oriel, the president of Garner Area Ministries, said the ministry spent approximately $3,800 in July and August last summer as it filled 233 orders to feed 687 people.
“We see many more people in need during the summer months,” Oriel said. “650 cans of food will greatly supplement our supply.”
Oriel and White said that even small donations can make a difference.
“Families that can donate a can of corn or a box of cereal will never know just how much those donations mean,” White said. “We see that difference every Tuesday and Thursday morning when families line up at our door for assistance.”
Clients must provide proof of identity and must present the social security card for every person living at the same address for whom they are requesting food.
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Where to go for help
Garner Area Ministries: 558 Village Court, Food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday through Friday. Clients who live in the 27529 zip code area or in parts of the 27603 and 27610 areas can receive a four-day supply of food once every three months.
Garner Community of Hope: 601 St. Mary's Street. Food pantry is open on Tuesday and Thursdaymornings from 11 a.m. - 12 Noon. The pantry also is open the third Thursday evening of the month from6 p.m. - 7 p.m. Clients speak to a counselor and can receive a seven-day supply of food for each member of the household.