Renovated & Re-energized

Published 10:41 am Monday, November 6, 2017

AHOSKIE – Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Food Pantry is dedicated to helping out the community by providing nutritional items to those in need, but recently the pantry received help itself in the form of a makeover.

The food pantry, located at 600 Catherine Road in Ahoskie, was one of the recipients of Food Lion’s annual “Great Pantry Makeover” project which provides money, materials, and labor to improve the pantry’s ability to fight hunger in the community. Calvary Food Pantry, which regularly works in partnership with both Food Lion and the Elizabeth City-based Food Bank of the Albemarle, was one of 60 pantries selected across the grocery store’s 10-state service area.

Food Lion employees help remove a refrigerator to protect it from paint early Wednesday morning as work to coat the walls and ceiling gets underway.

“It’s important to us to feed our neighbors. It’s the pillar of our company,” said Raechelle Petteway, Regional Community Relations Specialist for Food Lion.

Petteway was present Wednesday morning as work got underway to finish the last of the renovations to the small building beside the church which houses the food pantry. Representatives from the church and the Food Bank of the Albemarle were joined by employees from Ahoskie’s Food Lion store to complete the work by painting the interior walls and ceiling.

Before they got to the painting point of the project, however, the makeover included a few days of installing a new freezer and refrigerator along with insulation, new flooring, new shelving, and a new HVAC unit—the most important renovation, according to Corelette Smith who serves as director of the food pantry.

“We got a new AC heating unit because the heating unit that we had wasn’t working effectively,” said Smith, adding how they previously had to work through extremely hot conditions in the summer and extremely cold ones in winter.

“I think everyone is very excited about what we’ve done,” Smith continued.

Smith explained the pantry, which has been in operation since January 2003, was designed to serve elderly residents of Hertford County and usually serves 100 or more people when it’s open on the fourth Saturday morning of each month. It remains stocked thanks in part to Food Lion.

“They actually pick up at our store here locally,” Petteway explained. “It’s part of our food rescue program. We don’t throw anything away out of our stores. It’s all donated to local food banks or food pantries in the towns and cities we serve.”

One worker begins painting the inside walls white. Along with the paint materials, Food Lion also provided and installed insulation, new flooring, a new HVAC unit, and more.

Chris Godfrey, manager of the Food Lion located on Memorial Drive in Ahoskie, said he and his coworkers were excited to help put the finishing touches on the Calvary Food Pantry makeover.

“We’re just coming out to help support the community,” he explained. “It’s something I’ve been passionate about, and my people are happy to come out and do some work today to help the community and help these ladies that they’re familiar with coming by the store picking up food all the time. We’ve been supporting them all that we can.”

The store employees, clad in bright yellow t-shirts, quickly got to work Wednesday morning to prepare for the paint job. Together they emptied out the structure and put protective plastic over the new floor before they began painting the walls a bright shade of white. After the painting was complete, they restocked the shelves full to the brim with food.

Representing Food Bank of the Albemarle, Agency Relations Manager Katrina Watkins also came to help out with the last of the food pantry improvements. She worked to help nominate Calvary as one of the potential recipients of the Food Lion makeover project.

Watkins described their partnership with Calvary Food Pantry, saying, “Think of a wheel. The Food Bank [of the Albemarle] is the hub of the wheel. All of our food pantries are the spokes, and then the clients are on the rim. They’re the ones being served by the pantry itself.”

In the end, it is those people on the rim who will benefit the most. The makeover will help Calvary Food Pantry work more efficiently and effectively to distribute food to the local community.

“We know the holiday season will be busy coming up for you guys,” Petteway said as she addressed Smith and the rest of the pantry workers, “So we hope this just gives you the boost you need to be able to continue to push forward.”