The next free grocery distribution by Second Harvest’s mobile food pantry is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at Belair United Methodist Church.
It’s the latest giveaway in the Panhandle since Jim Northrup and other volunteers from Faith Presbyterian Church wanted to find a way to help ease neighbors’ economic burden. When they first arranged for a Second Harvest visit four years ago, raising the money needed to bring a single truck to Indian Land seemed like a miracle, Northrup said.
“We raised the $300 and served 65 families at the Indian Land recreation center, where our church meets every Sunday,” he said. “Then I opened my big mouth and said we’ll do three trucks.”
Teaming up with Belair, Faith Presbyterian and other churches, along with Northrup, pastor David Bender and others, made it happen. Now, Second Harvest visits Indian Land several times a year, handing out the free food packages to 200 or so people each trip. The distribution is intended primarily for Indian Land Panhandle residents, but anyone who shows up and registers will receive a package.
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“It just made sense to go in with another church and split the price,” he said.
Unlike that first visit, Northrup is confident the money and manpower will be there when it comes time to schedule a new one.
“People just started coming forward, volunteering and donating money,” he said.
“At first, we got paper bags from Harris Teeter, but now people just bring in all the paper and plastic bags we need. It’s grown out of love of giving people food,” Northrup said.
There’s no way of knowing what type of groceries will be on the truck, Northrup said. Typically, there are seasonal items, he said, such as fresh produce in summer and turkeys at Thanksgiving. Last Christmas, there were hams. Past deliveries have included cans of beef stew, complete frozen dinners and frozen chickens.
Another delivery is expected in June. Belair also operates a food pantry for Indian Land residents twice a month on the first and third Thursday mornings. Donations of food or cash can be dropped off at the church office at 8095 Shelley Mullis Road, Indian Land.