LAUREL HILL — Whether they were in it themselves or just observing, those who witnessed the cavalcade of vehicles lined up outside of New Covenant Food Bank on Tuesday found that the sight brought a greater sense of gratitude to Thanksgiving.
Tucked in behind Mamie’s Drive In and Stewart’s Xpress service station just off of U.S. 74, New Covenant Food Bank has operated for the last two years. The food bank is open on the first and third Monday of each month from 2-4 p.m., and serves about 450 families each month through its affiliation with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
“Everything is fresh and everything is good,” said New Covenant organizer Jackie Lowery. “The tomatoes are fresh, the bread’s fresh, nothing is old.”
On Tuesday, the food bank opened for a special Thanksgiving distribution of food sourced through the regional food bank as well as through donations from Food Lion and Harris Teeter.
At noon, vehicles began to form a line behind the food bank. When distribution started at 1 p.m., they numbered more than 100, each to receive a box loaded with food including chicken and beef stocks, collards, French loaves, and cranberry orange cake, bulk bags of onions and potatoes, and a pack of tomatoes.
Though the giveaway covered nearly every element of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and the odd box included a rotisserie chicken, the food bank was short on turkeys Tuesday.
“We didn’t have donations enough this year to pay for them $25 and $30 turkeys,” said Lowery. “Donations are way down, but that’s okay — we’re going to do the best we can. We must do okay because we’ve got people here to get it. We’ve all got to buy potatoes and onions and collards.”
The food bank operates with about 10 regular volunteers, including Erma Thomas, who has contributed her efforts for about a year.
“I like being able to give to people that need it,” she said. “It makes you feel good because you’re helping somebody and it makes you feel good to be able give somebody a box of food because a lot of people are having it hard.”
“When I saw this, I thought: it’s a blessing,” added Hamlet resident Penny Sanchez. “For every person, this might be their only chance to have something for Thanksgiving. You don’t know who needs it.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.