Online Originals: Local food pantry ‘Share the Bounty’ helped run by ECU professors, receives Food Lion’s ‘Great Pantry Makeover’

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — As we gear up for the holidays, many food pantries in the Eastern North Carolina region are preparing for a busy season of food distribution as our country continues to deal with shortages.

One food pantry in Simpson has a unique story. “Share the Bounty” food pantry is run by the Salem United Methodist Church with help from East Carolina University professors who attend the church.

The pantry started with a backpack program in May of 2016, and organizers quickly recognized a need for food distribution services in their immediate area.

“We noticed there were no summer feeding programs. We are a rural area and though there were many feeding programs across this county there were none in our area of the county”, said pantry coordinator Linda Marsal.

The group was recently selected to receive a makeover of their distribution center from Food Lion’s “Great Pantry Makeover” program and those renovations have recently wrapped up.

“They were working out of a garage that only had an outer wall so we were able to come in and add voltage through that garage where they can run freezers and coolers, they were able to put walls up, they are able to store food there now and move out of a very small room they were working out of.”

“We also put heat and air out there so they can work in the summer and winter time comfortably and add more electricity to the house itself.” 

David Garris, Director of Retail Operations – Food Lion

Food Lion Director of Retail Operations David Garris tells me, “Food Lion has a goal with their makeover and feeding program to donate 1.5 billion meals by 2025. Now, the food pantry serves over 100 families each distribution day.”

Linda Marsal tells me, “those families represent around 400 individuals” they are feeding each time. Marsal expects over 150 families for their distributions during Thanksgiving.

The pantry is currently open the:

1st and 3rd Saturday of every month for drive-thru service from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

The pantry asks participants to please have the trunk of the vehicle cleaned out and accessible and asked to remain inside. Masks are required.

You must meet the poverty level by proof of receipt of food stamps, verification of food stamps pending, or reporting income. Linda Marsal says they will never turn anyone away their first time regardless of what their income is.

Those who do not qualify per the federal poverty regulations but are still in need of food can access the Blessing Box located on the side of the pantry at 785 McDonald Street, Simpson, N.C. Volunteers say there is always food in there and anyone can come and access it at any time.

Food Pantry needs:

Cereal, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned meat, paper products, peanut butter
Infants: Diapers, wipes, formula & dry infant cereal
Kids: pudding cups, small protein items (Granola bars, Popcorn, Crackers, Juice Boxes)

For donations and volunteering contact:

Phone: 252-752-1273, Email: lindamarsal@gmail.com, Web: www.salemmethodist.org

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