People at Pilgrims’ Inn charity and shelter Tuesday afternoon saw two Sheriff’s Office vans and the words, “The cops are here” spilled out.
Turns out the vans were driven by jailers with food for the hungry, needy, and homeless.
York County Sheriff’s Office jail officers delivered food to the Rock Hill, South Carolina, non-profit after a month-long collection drive. Sgt. Stacey Sexton of the detention division at the sheriff’s office saw a Facebook post of empty shelves at Pilgrims’ Inn in June, then challenged all shifts at the jail to help.
One shift had the most donations but all were generous, Sexton said.
“People at the detention center just started giving and never stopped,” Sexton said. ‘I saw that picture of an empty pantry and said no way can we allow this. So we helped.”
The help was boxes and bags of food, hygiene items, and other supplies. Several officers and supervisors from the detention division helped collect and deliver the goods, including Chief John Hicks, the top man at the county jail.
Pilgrims’ Inn was founded in 1981 to help the poor and has a homeless shelter, day care, and other services. Most of its food, which is given out to needy families and children, comes from community donations. Last Christmas, a Rock Hill law firm donated all the food seized in a restaurant lawsuit to Pilgrims’ Inn.
But summer food stocks were low this year.
“In the summer we typically run dry in the pantry and we had shelves that were empty,” said Jennifer Gullatt, community services coordinator for Pilgrims’ Inn.
Tuesday’s delivery via vans, which usually carry prisoners, came just in time to replenish stocks and have plenty to give to struggling families as school starts next week.
“Just when we needed help, the police showed up,” Gullat said. “And they had so much to give.”