This past Saturday morning, something awesome and wonderful happened in my town. Harvest Hope PeeDee brought the Mobile Food Pantry to Lamar, an answered prayer.
There are places where people can receive assistance in Darlington County, however, there is nothing close by. Everything is at least 20 minutes, or farther away. Food insecurity here in the mostly rural PeeDee was real before March 13; the pandemic made hunger an even greater problem. But while COVID had forced some programs to suspend operations and other agencies to pause services, Harvest Hope was there working hard to help fill the gap.
After 8 weeks of self-isolation for safety’s sake, I couldn’t bear being at home another minute doing nothing to help. I put out feelers with friends for somewhere to serve and finally got connected with Harvest Hope. My first shift as a volunteer was packing food boxes for a mobile pantry. In my mind, each box represented a family that would have something to eat that week. That’s tangible. When you’re packing a box with food for a real person, you know that you’re making a difference in their life. So you make sure it’s a nice box. You don’t skimp. Every week is a challenge to see how many more families will be impacted during my 2-hour shift.
It wasn’t long before our church decided to have a campaign to pack food boxes. It started out as a youth project, but the adults didn’t want to be left out. Young and young at heart had a great time serving together and were able to build 3 tall pallets, 6 high, in 2 hours. 216 more families ate that weekend because a handful of us took a little time to help pack some boxes.
I discovered early on that the food is there and it’s available. The trick is getting it pushed out into the communities where it’s needed. Everything is so spread out here. It takes many faithful volunteers to pack lots and lots of boxes over and over again for that to happen. But what about my community? People here are really hurting. What would it take to host a mobile food pantry in Lamar?
I can’t take credit for something I know that the Lord orchestrated. I’ll be honest, I’m just not that well-connected, talented or smart. The truth is that there were a number of VIP’s who all had important roles in making the Lamar Mobile Food Pantry a reality, so that no one can boast. From those who donated, to those who packed boxes, to all the Harvest Hope employees who work tirelessly behind the scenes (our volunteer coordinator, agency coordinator, driver, warehouse manager and others) all played a role in what happened in Lamar on Saturday morning. So did the mayor, the police chief, my husband, several pastors, community leaders and a host of others who showed up to help. Close your eyes and picture a diverse group of 20+ volunteers, united in service, neighbor loving neighbor, blessing our community with food and making each person feel loved and cared for.
This. This is why I volunteer with Harvest Hope.