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The gift of food

LEWISTON & WINTON – With all the stress of the ongoing pandemic, not having to worry about food is a blessing.

Local churches, such as Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Windsor along with First Baptist Church Winton and Newsome Grove Missionary Baptist Church of Ahoskie, are working to alleviate those worries with free food box giveaways during December. The first one took place on Dec. 3.

The boxes came from the General Baptist Association of North Carolina though a hunger initiative grant. Each box contains fresh produce from North Carolina farmers, including staples such as collards, cabbage, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and more.

“We wanted to make sure that families get a healthy meal,” explained Linda McNair-Moore, who serves as the Food Pantry and Project Coordinator for Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church.

In Hertford County, Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Whitehead of First Baptist Church Winton and Rev. Dr. Katrina Futrell of Newsome Grove Missionary Baptist formed a partnership to serve as a distribution site to area churches awarded this grant to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to local citizens.

Last Thursday, the first set of food boxes were delivered to the participating churches to give away. Volunteers from Mt. Olive distributed their boxes at the Northeast Development Center in Lewiston. McNair-Moore said they had a good turnout at the event and were able to send all 150 boxes home with the people who showed up.

Following safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it was a “first come, first served” drive-thru event. McNair-Moore said they were able to utilize the space at the location in order to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church will also distribute food boxes again at 1 p.m. on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.

Food will be distributed at two locations in Hertford County on Thursday, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17: First Baptist Church Winton at the C.S. Brown Cultural Arts Building, 511 S. Main Street, Winton at 11 a.m. and Newsome Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 433 Newsome Grove Road, Ahoskie, at 4 p.m. Produce boxes will be distributed on a first come first served basis while supplies last.

There are no restrictions on who can receive a box.

“We are so happy that we’re able to do this for the people,” said McNair-Moore after the first giveaway event. “They were very appreciative. They thanked us, and they told us they would see us next week.”

She said the free food meant there would be one less thing for people to worry about paying out-of-pocket for, especially when so many have lost their jobs or had wages reduced due to the pandemic.

She also said the church wanted to find ways to continue safely serving the community in the midst of the pandemic. The food boxes have been one way to do that.

“There are some good things that can come out of a bad situation,” McNair-Moore pointed out.

In the future, she said they plan to apply for more grants which will help them give away other necessary items to the community, such as toiler paper, paper towels, disinfectants, and more.