“We are going to take it to those who need it. We are going to ask for help ourselves.”

by | Oct 16, 2016 | #feedinghealth | 0 comments

The doors in the back of the East Market Street Seventh Day Adventist Church in Greensboro are propped open, and the early morning October sun is streaming in. Volunteers are bustling around, unpacking large pallets of tomatoes and apples and oatmeal as they are unloaded from the Second Harvest Food Bank truck.

A woman stands by the door, and as neighborhood residents enter, she greets them warmly, sometimes with a hug, checking them in before they take a seat on the bleachers to wait for the food to be distributed.

This is the fourth Community Cupboard at the Seventh Day Adventist Church and clearly the word has spread. Over 150 families are already coming to the weekly event, collecting boxes of fresh vegetables and fruit, bread and oatmeal to take home. “We are seeing families with children, senior citizens and A&T University students coming in for food,” said Pastor Cedric Parker.

“We are spreading the word by church and by mouth,” says a volunteer who gives her name as ‘V.’
“We told our neighbors and we told our friends.” V looks out over the room, which is quickly filling up. Someone has just turned on some upbeat R&B music and a little boy is in the center of the gym twirling in circles, his arms stretched towards the ceiling.

“You know we are struggling. This gives them food they can’t afford. I haven’t worked in two years because of a back injury; the doctor only just released me to work again. But I had family support. That’s why I am volunteering here,” says V.

The first people have been called and they are making their way along the food line, volunteers helping them fill grocery carts with the items they select.

“A lot of people here are getting for other people. Neighbors who don’t have transportation or their health is real bad,” continues V. “I take about three boxes to people who can’t make it up here. I even dropped some boxes off at the barber shop and he said ‘Yeah, we can get these to people who need it for sure.’”

V is volunteering at the food distribution, but she also has a deep, intimate understanding of food insecurity from her own lived experience. As she speaks, she interchangeably says “we” and “they” when describing the people here to gather food. Like in so many places that Second Harvest supports, there are blurred lines between those who are giving and receiving. Here, it is clear there is strength in that ambiguity.

“It’s about branching out. Networking. We are going to get this to the people who need it. We are going to take it to those who need it. We are going to ask for help ourselves.”


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