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Gastonia church asks for help after fire destroys food trailer used to serve 135,000 people

Mount Zion Restoration Church uses the refrigerated trailer to serve an average of 3,700 people a week.

GASTONIA, N.C. — Mount Zion Restoration Church in West Gastonia is asking for the community's help after its refrigerated trailer caught fire early-Monday morning.

The church stored food in the trailer for its weekly food drive on Thursdays, which, according to church leaders, has served 135,000 people since the start of the pandemic.

Dr. Rodney Freeman, the church's pastor, said investigators determined the fire was caused by either an electrical issue or a power line hanging over the trailer. No food was in the trailer at the time of the fire.

He's now trying to secure donations to fund a new refrigerated trailer.

"Out of all the good that it'd done for the community, it was something that we were not expecting or prepared for," Dr. Freeman said. "Nevertheless, we'll continue to move forward."

He said Second Harvest Food Bank is letting the church borrow a trailer for its next few food drives while the church searches for a replacement.

"The only difference that they will see Thursday when they show up is they will see a trailer that's burnt, sitting on our campus," Dr. Freeman said. "But everything else is going to be just like normal. They're going to get the same love. They're going to get the same food. They're going to get the same hospitality."

However, Dr. Freeman said the church's insurance company may not cover the cost for a new trailer so he's turning to the community for help in buying a new trailer.

He said people have already called him asking how they can help the church.

"We're going to get over this," Dr. Freeman said. "I know the community. They're going to support [us]. We'll have something here by the end of the month. I'm sure we'll have another trailer."