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Holiday Food Pantry Drive and Greater Hope Foundation team up to combat hunger

The Greater Hope Foundation of Brookhaven has been busy during the cold winter months serving the less fortunate in the community through the Holiday Food Pantry Drive.

The drive is being sponsored with the help of the Bank of Brookhaven and Brookhaven Daily Leader along with the monetary donations of various individuals.

The Greater Hope Foundation, originally based in California, is a non-profit organization developed to provide services which foster troubled young people intellectually, physically and spiritually/ The organization exists for the sole-reason of matching foster children with caring and loving foster parents.

Flora Kelly, a member of the Greater Hope Foundation and a volunteer for the Brookhaven Food Pantry Drive, explained that she and others give out meals and food to families from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. on the first and last Thursdays of each month.

“We usually feed around 115 to 120 families, not individuals, regularly,” said Kelly.

Kelly says the foundation tries especially to provide healthy and well-balanced meals to the families that show up because they tend to see more elderly and sick than younger people.

“We try to provide nutritional meals that include fruits, vegetables and meats because we serve more elderly people and they have more health issues,” explained Kelly.

The foundation goes above and beyond to provide meals for anyone that is hungry or in need and, when necessary, even gives food on the other days of the month to a oblige all people in need. If the Department of Human Services sends someone their way, the foundation will not turn them away empty-handed.

Kelly said, “We try to accommodate anyone that comes in that has need for food.”

The foundation operates entirely off of volunteers and donations and usually has up to seven volunteers who are semi-regular that show up to help, with the most to show up ever being only eight. The volunteers come from all backgrounds and sections of Lincoln County. Some of the volunteers are church members, librarians, schoolteachers and retirees.

“Nobody earns a penny,” added Kelly.

The families who have participated previously sign in to accept food and new participants sign up to receive food, but no one is turned away.

Kelly explained the need for donations are greater during the winter months and especially during the holiday season. She added the foundation would love to see more people donate more fresh perishables for them to cook such as bread and potatoes. Because of the time constraints on the freshness, Kelly usually picks up the potatoes the morning of the food day to ensure she is giving the needy the best quality she can.

In addition there is also a need for non-perishables such as canned food and especially canned fruits, vegetables and canned soups.

Kelly said they give out a variety to make sure there is something for everyone to eat. This past food day, the menu included green beans, macaroni and cheese, salmon, corn, mashed potatoes, beef stew, apples, oranges, all kinds of soups and more.

Although the foundation will only participate once during the month of December (Because of Christmas day being the last Thursday), the first food day was a success.

Other organizations who participate in the Food Pantry Drive are St. Francis of Assisi, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Union Hall Baptist Church, Bethel AME Church as well as various other churches and organizations.

The Food Pantry Drive is accepting monetary donations through the Bank of Brookhaven and The Daily Leader from now until Friday. All proceeds will directly benefit the churches and organizations involved in distributing quality food to those in need.