By Jessica Groover
When members of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints were planning their Day of Service 2009, they asked Mayors Scott Padgett and Bob Misenheimer what kept them awake at night. The mayors’ response was empty shelves in local food pantries.
As a way to solve this, church members are partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina for a four-county food drive, running now through Saturday. For Second Harvest, which serves 14 counties in North Carolina and more than 600 agencies, this event will help it fill a greater need.
“Our emergency pantries are experiencing an increase in requests for assistance of 30 to 40 percent (compared to) the same time last year,” said Kay Carter, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. “This drive by the church could not have come at a better time.”
More than 50 barrels are now available throughout Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Stanly counties to collect non-perishable foods. All Cabarrus County fire stations will have barrels, and selected Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Dollar General and Bi-Lo stores also have barrels for collection, as does the Independent Tribune office in Kannapolis.
Saturday will officially be the Day of Service. As those with full barrels and anyone else who wants to donate drive into Roush/Fenway Racing and to the pit stalls on Saturday, volunteers will swarm their vehicles. But the “pit crew” will not fix anything. The crew’s purpose will be to unload the food.
“(This is) so the driver doesn’t have to do anything,” said Glenn Traill, a project manager for Day of Service.
If drivers want to then exit the vehicle, they can visit the Roush/Fenway Racing Museum in Concord for free. A percentage of anything bought at the store there will go toward Second Harvest Food Bank.
For every 1,000 pounds received, the volunteers will tie a banner around the flag pole.
While the day of service’s theme is racing, the purpose is all about helping the food banks.
“What matters most is that we restock the food banks,” Traill said. “If we can just come together as a group, the power of the people is paramount.”
Roush/Fenway Racing is located at 4600 Roush Place in Concord. The Day of Service 2009 will be on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Contact reporter Jessica Groover: 704-789-9152.