By Charlotte Smith
November is a time when many people count the things they are thankful for in life. Hundreds of families are grateful for the monthly food drive in Bladen County. For three years now, community members have volunteered to hold a monthly food drive at the Baltimore Center in Council, North Carolina.
It all started when someone mentioned the need to feed the hungry to Mr. Dennis Troy of Elizabethtown after Hurricane Matthew. Tory and his wife Nancy joined together with Ms. Christin Dozier, and Ms. Velma Jones to develop a solution.
Ms. Jones said, “We kept having storms, and we didn’t have anyone in this area to help, and our elders weren’t getting anything.”
The ambition to feed those in need provided an uncommon plan of action. The individuals recruited volunteers from different religious denominations such as Baptist, Holiness, and AME Zion, and they prepared to work together. After coming up with a plan, the group spoke with Ms. Quessie Peterson about having the food drive each month at the Baltimore Center.
Three years later, 30 volunteers from Carver’s Creek, Council, East Arcadia, Elizabethtown, Lisbon, and St. James distribute large food boxes to around 100 families each month.
Mr. Troy said, “These people are out here serving and helping hungry people.”
According to Ms. Peterson and Mr. Troy, the food comes from Fayetteville. Five men volunteer their time and trucks to collect the food and drive it to the center each month.
Dr. Valentin Sutton, Pastor of Trinity AME Zion Church in Carvers Creek, said, “I think we have a great impact because we are feeding many families with healthy food.”
The boxes handed out are full of meats, vegetables, milk, and juice. According to Mr. Troy, the food will last a family for about one month.
Mr. Kenneth Daniels, one of the volunteers, mentioned his outlook on the project, “Some people are trying to live on a thousand dollars a month, and it is a struggle. Every meal you give someone is one meal they don’t have to pay for, and they can pay their light bill or get their medicine instead.”
Mr. Troy said, “Even though the COVID Pandemic, we still did this, and that’s when it was really needed. We used the three W’s and still held the drive.”
Ms. Peterson asserted, “Jill Christianson with Day One Relief donated PPE (personal protection equipment) for us to give out during the drive as well.” The donated hand sanitizer and disposable masks are much appreciated, Ms. Peterson stated.
Unless there is a change in the schedule, the food drive is held on the third Wednesday of every month from 11 am until 3 pm. If anyone is interested in volunteering, they may contact Ms. Quessie Peterson at the Baltimore Center. The center is located at 2100 Elwell Ferry Road in Council, NC.