GASTONIA, N.C. — Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry in Gastonia marked a milestone Thursday.
The food pantry has now served more than 300,000 people since the pandemic started.
Before the pandemic spread to North Carolina in March 2020, the food pantry served about 300 people a week.
Now, it averages 11 times that many with 3,300 people a week showing up for food pick-up service.
“Many people lost their careers due to COVID,” Rodney Freeman, senior pastor at Mount Zion Restoration Church, said. “They’ve had to change careers, man, and many of them not making the money they were making, but one thing about it we’re here, man, to help them and hopefully just give them some hope, man.”
Volunteers with Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry show up every week ready to meet the needs of its clients, whether it’s with food or a word of inspiration.
“We’re out here just to give people hope, man, to give them encouragement, to let them know that there’s somebody that cares about them and just let them know that, man, listen you can make it,” Freeman said. “Don’t give up.”
Freeman said the food pantry has been able to successfully serve the number of people it has throughout the pandemic all thanks to the hardworking, dedicated volunteers.
“They are here, man, six o’clock in the morning,” Freeman said. “Getting prepared, getting things ready so that when our clients come through, they’ll have something.”