Friday, 05 May 2017 10:14

Filling the hunger void: Letter carriers launch annual food drive Featured

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Letter carriers surround the beneficiaries of the food drive and mayors. Letter carriers surround the beneficiaries of the food drive and mayors.

Last year the Bethlehem Food Pantry of First United Methodist Church in Roanoke Rapids gave out 2,490 bags of food.

Angel’s Closet, also in Roanoke Rapids, gives 18 families two bags of food a day and schedules six families per hour for food distribution.
Along with the Jo Story Senior Center and Hannah’s Place, these organizations will be the beneficiaries of the annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger food drive on May 13.
May 13 is the date letter carriers will pick up non-perishable food items as they make their rounds. The United States Postal Service recommends placing the bags of food by mailboxes by 9 a.m.
The Roanoke Rapids Post Office kicked off the drive today with presentations from those benefitting from the event as well as proclamations read by city Mayor Emery Doughtie and Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham.
Don Malcolm, of First UMC, said the Bethlehem Food Pantry is now in its eighth year, and its creation came from a challenge by the district superintendent to do community outreach. On the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month the food pantry at the church on Roanoke Avenue is open.
“There’s a lot of hunger in the Roanoke Valley,” Becky Malcolm said before the kick-off this morning.
Mr. Malcolm said, “There’s a lot of elderly people. There’s a lot of families who don’t have any food.”
Then there are the homeless, Mrs. Malcolm said, and food bags are modified for them.
Mr. Malcolm said the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is an important event for the pantry. “It’s a big part of the program. We wouldn’t exist without it.”
Virgie Clay of Angel’s Closet also sees the need. The ministry gets 35 to 40 phone calls a day to set up applications. “Some come in with only the clothes they’re wearing. Some we give food with pull-off cans because they have no electricity.”

Inside the post office, Thomas Goble of the Jo Story Senior Center thanked the letter carriers for the upcoming drive.
Shermel Epps of Hannah’s Place also thanked them. “If it wasn’t for the community, we couldn’t meet the needs. The need is great.”
Ronald Davis, who with Jennifer Garcia, is coordinating this year’s food drive, said across the country one in six people don’t get enough food. In North Carolina, that number is one in four, he said. “The food we collect stays locally.”
After reading his proclamation, Doughtie said, “If we didn’t have you out collecting, families’ needs would go unfulfilled.”
Said Meacham: “I commend all of you for your efforts. It’s such an unselfish effort.”


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