BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
With unemployment increasing, the services that nonprofits provide in Iredell County have become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iredell Christian Ministries is one of the organizations in our community that helps ensure every family has enough to eat. With an increase in demand, Executive Director Joy Morrison said the nonprofit is appreciative of all of the support it receives.
Prior to the pandemic, the pantry would serve about 55 families on a typical day. Now, that figure is sometimes as high as 75 families.
So the need for donations to replenish those supplies is ongoing.
“We need food, any kind of canned or boxed,” Morrison said. “We’ll also take frozen food, meat, and those types of things.”
The ministry is also accepting financial assistance, and can turn every dollar it receives into five pounds of food from the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Keith Bills, a former firefighter and law enforcement officer, is organizing an effort to restock the shelves and freezer at Iredell Christian Ministries.
After hearing that Rowan County‘s resources were depleted, he joined an effort there last weekend to deliver food to help those in need.
After hearing from a friend, Jason Mullins, about those who are struggling closer to home in Iredell County, Bills decided to help again.
He spent Monday praying about it.
“It was on my heart,” he explained. “With kids out of school and all the unemployment, I said, ‘Say no more.’ ”
Since then he and several others bikers have been working to fill a 48-foot refrigerated trailer with food for Iredell Christian Ministries. They plan to deliver the donations on Saturday.
The group plans to meet at STE Powersports around 10 a.m. for coffee and donuts. The bikers will then ride up Highway 115 to Highway 901.
“At 10:30 it’s kickstands up and we’re riding to North Iredell Rescue,” Bills said.
Marty’s Pub has donated enough food to feed up to 130 participants. After lunch, they’ll escort an 18-wheeler and the trailer to the ministry.
“It’s a huge, huge, huge thing,” Bills said.
Fifty to 100 bikers from around the region are expected to ride. They will help unload the truck at Iredell Christian Ministries around 1 p.m.
Bills has had a lot of positive comments on social media.
“One of my videos already has 800 views on it,” Bills said. “We could use more help if anyone wants to.”
Along with the food and physical labor, Morrison said the agency needs spiritual support.
“We need prayer,” she said. “We’re running on a skeleton crew of three of us on a normal day.”
One of the workers handles the shopping while the other two pack boxes full of food.
A typical box contains canned fruits and vegetables, breakfast food, staples such as peanut butter and macaroni, fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats, bread, and desserts.
It’s enough to last a typical family for three to five days, Morrison.
However, she said that there’s nothing typical about the ministry right now.
“It’s changed quite a bit,” she said. “Our regular clients (mostly elderly) aren’t coming, and we’ve had a lot of new families who’ve never been to a food pantry.”
The nonprofit is running low on meat, but she wouldn’t describe the need as critical just yet.
If anyone would like to help but can’t afford to financially, there are other ways to show support.
“They can donate plastic grocery bags and egg cartons for the eggs that farmers donate,” Morrison said. “It don’t cost anything.”