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Food pantry funds go long way to aid less fortunate

Lincoln Countians’ generosity continues to inspire.

Despite overall hard economic times, and no doubt individualconcerns about home and family matters, contributions to The DAILYLEADER and Bank of Brookhaven’s Holiday Food Pantry Drive have seta record for the seven years the drive has been held. This year’stotal of more than $9,100 far eclipsed the previous high of justover $8,400 raised in 2008.

In the next few days, money donated this year will be given to thefood pantries at Brookhaven Outreach Ministries, St. Francis ofAssisi/St. Vincent de Paul and Union Hall Baptist Church. Thoseministries, in turn, will use the money to help those lessfortunate during the holidays and throughout the year.

Food pantry representatives acknowledge that the holidays are aparticularly stressful time for families in need and therefore, abusier time for food pantries’ operations.

“Those are the neediest months, when we see the most amount ofpeople with the greatest need,” said the Rev. Jerry Durr, head ofBrookhaven Outreach Ministries. “A lot of people are out of work,and it’s making the demand on our food pantry tremendous.”

Gwen Dyess, with Union Hall’s pantry, sees the same trend. She alsopointed out drive funds’ role in helping after the holidays areover when needs still have to be met.

“December is a very busy month; when December gets through I’llhave to restock,” said Dyess. “That money is a huge help.”

And the food that the money buys will be a huge help to those whovisit the three local pantries.

When an organization operates on donations, the ability to keep thedoors open is an ever-present concern. The continuing success ofthe food pantry drive lessens those concerns at the holiday.

“Every year I think we won’t do as well as we did last year due toeconomic reasons, but it doesn’t work out that way,” said MarkNettles, pantry president for St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent dePaul.

Thanks to the generosity of contributors to the food pantry drive,the three local organizations will be able to continue theiroutreach efforts to help the less fortunate in the community.

“The funds raised help us tremendously to be able to minister tothe needs in our community,” Durr said. “This is people helpingpeople.”