Upon learning that my Greenville office for Partners in Health and Wholeness would be located at the food bank, I knew it would be a harmonious fit. I walk into work each day and glimpse the larger landscape of needs and opportunities in our state. I get to be in a hub of nourishment and gathering as I work for health and wholeness.
Food is the epicenter of culture and way of being in Eastern NC. Food brings folks together, nourishes, is a cultural statement, and fills space in a room almost as well as a person can. Food is far more than sustenance and fighting hunger, it is a bridge of dignity. We all need to eat.
Doing ministry in North Carolina means sharing a lot of meals, in which all are a sacred fulfillment of a human need: food. I love sitting and eating with people; there are few better ways to get to know others. So imagine the intrigue and energy of having an office located at the local food bank. Every day is a busy day at the Greenville Branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina because there isn’t a day that people do not need food. People from all over the region come in and out to drop off food or pick-up; to volunteer; to check on the staff; to congregate and visit with one another. There is always a buzz in the air when food is involved. At the food bank, many needs are fulfilled.
A lot happens each day at the food bank, much more than feeding people. I witness community building and the exchange of dignity that affirms and heals. This food bank is much like a church on its best day. People are seen as whole persons, in which everyone has something to offer, whether it is bread or conversation. I love hearing one of the volunteers, Ms. Dorothy, laugh as she greets the gamut of visitors, making each person feel at home. And let it be known that she is always checking on me- offering me vegetables throughout the day. On my first day, upon meeting me, Ms. Dorothy shared that “everyone eats around here” and thank God for that.
Working in a food bank is a vibrant setting for my efforts in Eastern NC with health and wholeness. I am grateful to work in a place where each person has something to contribute and take away.