GASTONIA, N.C. — A food pantry in Gastonia that feeds hundreds of people each week needs your help to expand the operation.
Bountiful Blessings helps 900 people a week, but the project started from humble beginnings.
"I'll never forget the first day of the food pantry. We had about 12 or 13 cans. Two people showed up," said Pastor Rodney Freeman.
Though it started out as a food pantry with 12 cans a week, it's grown into one that now gets thousands of pounds of food a week.
"We get pounds and tons and pounds and tons. Just a general idea, if you would just look, we get this every Wednesday," said Gale Manning, food pantry coordinator.
Bountiful Blessings is housed in Mt. Zion Restoration Church. But you don't have to be a member of the church or belong to a certain religion to get help.
"You don't even have to go to church. You don't have to know Jesus. Don't even serve our God. We just want to show you the love of Jesus Christ. That's how we do it," Freeman said.
Bountiful Blessings said they hand out food to 300 people a week. Those people then go home and feed their families with the food. In all, the food pantry is helping 900 people a week.
"It has grown to about 43,000 families a year that we help at Mt. Zion Restoration Church," Manning said.
They don't just hand out fruits, veggies, and canned goods. They've also got a freezer full of goodies. Whenever someone has a birthday, they get a nice treat to help them celebrate their big day.
Most of the donations come from Second Harvest Food Bank. Other local grocery stores, as well as their own church members, donate food, too.
"We have volunteers to go to these particular grocery stores. Food Lion, Bi-Lo, and pick up and bring the food back," Freeman said.
Bountiful Blessings has about 20 volunteers who come regularly. Many of them have been around since day one and keep coming back week after week.
"What brings me back is the joy on people's faces. To interact with them when they're getting the food we provide for them," said Rita Hopper, volunteer.
While Bountiful Blessings helps hundreds each week, they also need your help.
"Well, we've got a campaign going. We're trying to purchase a refrigerated truck. We feel a need to really do. To transport the food in the heat, it gets tough sometimes with cooler, so we're looking to purchase a refrigerated truck where we can be able to haul the perishable items," Freeman said.
That food truck costs about $65,000. So far, the organization has raised about $12,000. They are planning a 5K for next year to help raise more money.
"A leap day 5K in 2020," said Labrey Burris, outreach coordinator.
Food truck or not, the organization will continue serving anyone who comes to its doors.
"We give out food officially on Wednesday morning, but we're 7-days a week. We have people come up here out of the blue that may be in a tight spot. In that moment, we try to provide a basket of food for them," said Labrey.
"The pastor of our church has stated, if our doors close, will the community notice? And I think the input and the contribution of meeting people where they are is really at the heart of our ministry," Labrey added.
- Bountifull Blessings Food Pantry
- 2311 Crescent Lane
- Gastonia, N.C. 28052
- Office: 704-898-5881
- Fax: 704-866-0723
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org