12/21/17 — Feeding Fremont's hungry

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Feeding Fremont's hungry

By Joey Pitchford
Published in News on December 21, 2017 5:50 AM

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Machelle Hamilton picks up bags of food at First Missionary Baptist Church Tuesday during the church's monthly food pantry event. Hamilton said the food pantry goes a long way in helping her take care of her daughter.

While many in Wayne County are preparing to spend time celebrating and eating with family for the holidays, there are plenty in the community who do not know where their next meal will come from.

The Community Food Pantry in Fremont is working to answer that question, whenever possible. Based out of the First Missionary Baptist Church at 410 S. Goldsboro St., the pantry held its monthly event Tuesday, giving away hundreds of bags of food to people from Fremont and across Wayne County.

Beginning around 8:30 a.m., volunteers pulled food items from vehicles and began to sort them into bags. Vegetables, breads, meats, drinks and other assorted items were all available, and members of the church spread them out in the building's back room for people to grab as they went by. All told, 150 bags of food sat on tables around the room, with more food ready to fill more bags if needed.

Meanwhile, in the main hall of the church, guests began to congregate and sign up to receive food. They filled the pews to the back of the room, filing up to the front to take a number.

Ira Reynolds, pastor at First Missionary, said that the event which the church hosts on the third Tuesday of each month has been going on since 2014. The church gave away more than 9,000 pounds of food at its Thanksgiving event in November, serving around 300 people.

"The responsibility of the church is to serve the community," Reynolds said. "This was one of the needs that we saw."

Reynolds began the proceedings with a prayer, and then thanked those who had helped the church make the food pantry viable. Then, 10 at a time, the gathered people began to move through the back room, loading up with bags of food along the way.

One of those people was Machelle Hamilton, of Goldsboro. She said she had been coming to the food pantry for around a year, using it to help support her disabled daughter.

"It has made a tremendous impact on my ability to take care of her," she said. "The community of Fremont has been very good to us."

Reynolds said that helping reduce food insecurity is only one part of fixing the overall issue facing people in northern Wayne County.

"Poor housing is a major issue, and so is employment," he said. "The only way to really solve the problem is with jobs, to get people to work."

First Missionary is always in need of help when putting together its monthly food pantry events.

To donate or volunteer, call Reynolds at 919-920-1670.