Betty and daughter, Melinda, stock the new shelves of the Food Pantry.
Terry puts finishing touches on the side paneling of the Food Pantry. Pastor Steve supervises from his chair on the background stair landing.
Last night the Cold Front passed though the Outer Banks leaving a bright sunny morning. The Garbage Trucks were late this morning, which also made me late in arriving at the Food Bank. After emptying the four Trash Bins, I filled them back up again from Hurricane trash piled up in the yard of DEJA VU. One more week should clean it all up.
Today, Terry and I - under the supervision of P. Steve - put the final paneling and hung the doors to the Food Pantry, which is now ready for business. Not being current in carpenter craftsmanship - I have rebuilt three or four of my own homes in past years with no help...and with good results - Terry did all the cutting and fitting. For the most part, I played the part of the Gofer...go for this...go for that...hold this...find that. For two days, Terry has put up with me, giving me biblical lessons suiting each of my short-comings.
Tomorrow, I will finish caulking the panel seams of the Food Pantry and help put in stock...then, my immediate assignments will be complete....Oh, except for hanging the bathroom towel rack !
A number of folks...mostly friends of P. Steve and Betty, arrived mid-morning. They worked without apparent guidance - obviously they have been doing this for some time -, moving product from storage and stocking the new shelving of the Food Pantry.
I have not queried P. Steve or Betty about their past activities with the Food Bank and Church, but I have gathered the following:
P. Steve receives - takes - no salary. He finances ALL of the activities, including PURCHASING goods for the Food Bank, from his Social Security. Being somewhat hindered by a continuing affliction of Polio, P. Steve needs - and receives lots of volunteer help. He has offered me $$ for my help, which I have graciously refused...as do most volunteers I have worked along side.
The Outer Banks are not what would be called living high on the hog. The folks out on the islands work very hard, depending on Summer tourism for their income. Hurricane IRENE devastated many businesses and homes - most homes are "rentals" bringing in $$ during the tourist season.
Today, two or three families visited the Food Bank, leaving with bags and boxes of food, clothing, and cleaning essentials. In two cases I spoke with, they were returning after evacuating their homes before IRENE, only to find their homes in shambles. Pastor Steve's Food Bank is serving a critical element for Island folks to get back on their feet.
The Food Bank charges NO $$ for any items taken. A "contribution" may be left, but is not expected and is low key.
As already stated, Pastor Steve purchases most of the foods - at discount - from local supermarkets and receives "donations" of food, clothing, and essential cleaning materials from locals. From time to time, a larger donation of $$ is received.
The building materials we have been using for construction of the Food Pantry and other buildings is also purchased by P. Steve.
Betty and Melinda served a casserole of Lasagna for lunch today for the volunteers. In past days, we have enjoyed a variety of good lunches...all offered at no charge.
Having walked many thousand miles across America, visiting many Churches and having discussions with Church leaders, I am more than overwhelmed at the effort(s) and dedication of Pastor Steve, Betty, and their family to help any and all who stop at their tiny Church and Food Bank.
I watched and listened today to Pastor Steve as he personally helped one family choose items from the Food Bank. P. Steve showed each item available and queried his visitors regarding the usefulness of that item. He then carried their filled boxes and bags to their car and urged them to return for anything - at any time - they may have forgotten.
I can honestly say that I had no idea such people as Pastor Steve, Betty, and their family existed.
I am truly humbled to be a small part of their efforts.