Remarkable Women: Ginger Wade devotes retirement giving to others

Crystal Coast

Editor’s note: We wanted to recognize the great contributions women have made to our nation and local communities. “Remarkable Women” is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.

We are highlighting four local women who inspire, lead and forge the way for other women. It’s not just about one day or one month — it’s about what they do, day-in and day-out.

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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – A woman on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is putting a lot of her retirement into a different job, one she’s held for the last decade.

The employer doesn’t even have her on the payroll but family and friends say Ginger Wade’s devotion to her work comes as no surprise.

“Sometimes I’m here at 6:30, 7 in the morning, and we’ll stay here 6:30, 7 at night,” said Wade.

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She’s a volunteer at her local food pantry, Martha’s Mission in Morehead City. In fact, she’s the general manager and on a mission. She wants people to know she and others at the mission don’t look down on people who are struggling.

Wade said, “as long as there’s people out there needing and we are able to help, we’re here.”

She praises her fellow volunteers for working together to help others, but Wades’ co-workers wish she would take some credit.

“She doesn’t want the praise that you can get, but deserves every minute of it,” said Joanna Broadhurst, floor manager at Martha’s Mission.

Wade became the mission’s general manager 10 years ago. Her hard work landed the nonprofit a steady supply of food and better ways to store it — like freezers.

“When she started out we used regular household refrigerators and things like that, so we didn’t have all but one small refrigerator,” said Broadhurst.

But Wade didn’t come to the mission intending to run it.

Her family member, Charleigh Matice said, “I believe at first, she kind of at first did it to help them, but I think she found her calling and didn’t even realize it was there.”

Wade started by packaging groceries and helping people put their meals in their cars. Three years later, she took on a bigger role. Actually, it was thrust upon her. The previous manager walked in and handed her the baton to lead the nonprofit.

Fast forward to 2021. She spends her days dishing out dozens of meals and heaping helpings of hope.

“We’ve had people call us back and say, ‘you’ve saved our lives because had I gone to the grocery store to buy this, I would’ve spent almost $400 and I didn’t have that,” said Wade.

While Wade continues to give, she’s also looking to get. She’s on the lookout for a new van and a new place for Martha’s Mission to call home.

“If we had a walk-in, had a bigger building, I can just imagine how many more people we could help,” said Wade.

Wade’s workers serve more than 300 people a month. They have no doubt Wade will be able to help anyone and everyone she can.

“She is a miracle for this area,” said Broadhurst.

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