LAURINBURG — While hoarding plastic shopping bags is common behavior, a group of St. Mary Catholic Church parishioners are putting theirs to good use this month.
The church organizes a food drive each February to support Church Community Services, sending volunteers, plastic bags in hand, to potential donors.
“It’s a good Lenten project,” said coordinator Kelly Beam. “We picked February originally because there is a lull after the holidays as everyone is recouping, but the need in our county stays the same.”
Each week, the group will attach bags to mailboxes in different neighborhoods throughout the county — including a flier explaining their mission and soliciting the residents’ help.
They return the following Saturday to retrieve bags filled with comestibles: canned fruits and vegetables, cans of chicken and tuna, baby food, and saltine crackers.
“We have done as much as several thousand items; a really good food drive would be 6,000 items,” said Beam. “Through this effort we are able to help hundreds of families.”
The effort began 10 years ago as a project for the church’s high school confirmation class, but depending on the size of the class church members step in to help.
“We’ve got plenty of bags, so we’ll put out as much as we think we can pick up Saturday and then we’ll start on another neighborhood next week,” Beam said.
“We’ve always had very good support from the county with this and we know this is going to be another great year.”
Those who do not receive a bag but would like to assist by donating food can call the St. Mary church office at 910-276-4468 or Church Community Services at 910-276-8330.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.