LAURINBURG – When the Kennedy family learned that St. Mary’s Catholic Church would not be able to hold its annual food drive this year, they stepped in to keep the good works going.
A couple who previously ran the church’s food drive stepped down because they are getting older and the work involved became too much.
Over a three-week period, Michael and Dawn Kennedy and their two children — Connor, 18 and Reagan,12 — visited three neighborhoods and left plastic bags on mailboxes. A flier was attached to the bag explaining the project.
“We tried to do it in the most noninvasive way possible,” Michael Kennedy said. “It doesn’t put people on the spot. If they don’t want to participate no one would know, if they did, great.”
Each Saturday, the family collected the bags of donated items and took them to Church Community Services.
Dawn Kennedy said she was pleased with the amount of food the family collected but wished it could have been more. She was impressed with the way people who contributed thought to provide more than canned goods.
“We had one box full of boxes of cereal,” she said, “And some people put together meals.”
Kennedy said he left the church’s name off the bags this year to keep the project nondenominational, “just people helping people.”
Michael Kennedy is studying to become an elementary school teacher and couldn’t help thinking of the children affected by hunger as he and his family collected food.
The family’s efforts netted 391 items of food for the charity.
“It’s a wonderful blessing anytime we get a donation especially when folks respond when we are really in need,” said Leslie Womack director of Church Community Services.
Church Community Services also received a donation of two shopping carts full of food from the Scottish Pilot Club.
Tyson and several members of the club heard about the need for food donations on the radio.
“I presented it to the club and asked if everyone would contribute $5,” said Tyson, president-elect of the club. “We collected in excess of $105.”
Tyson called the project a concerted effort and said the club was doing what it does best, “helping our community.”
The contributions were greatly appreciated and filled a sizable need according to Womack.
“In January and February, we gave out 1379 bags which is about 13,000 items,” Womack said. “We try to give [food] out every day, but there were a couple of days in February where we didn’t have anything to give.”
On days the charity doesn’t have bags of food to hand out, Womack and the volunteers of Church Community Services hand out bags of soup and juice.
Campbell’s soup donates one palette of items like soup, pork and beans, juice and salsa to the organization monthly. When there is nothing else to give Womack falls back on those to feed people who otherwise might go hungry.
Womack urges the community to reach out to those in need and donate to Church Community Services.
“Donate food; that’s the biggest help,” she said. “We always need nonperishable foods.”
The organization also helps residents with needs beyond food like underwear and socks diapers and wipes, bed linens and other household supplies.
Church Community Services is located at 108 Gill Street, Laurinburg and is open Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For information call, 910-276-8330 or email [email protected]
The Kennedy family: Reagan, Dawn, Connor (not pictured) and Michael collected almost 400 items of food for church community services by leaving bags with fliers to explain the program on neighborhood mailboxes.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169