Food Pantry Moyock Daily Advance Story July 7th 2012

July 7, 2012 Food Pantry Moyock Daily Advance Story July 7th 2012


Food Pantry of Moyock: Helping people help themselves

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MOYOCK — Feeding the hungry in Moyock started two years ago in the back of a thrift store. A tiny room was used to box up food for shut-ins then. Today, the Food Pantry of Moyock is still tucked behind discount sweaters, but new, larger quarters have expanded the nonprofit’s potential to help families.

Coordinator Bonnie Schuster said the food pantry has doubled its customers since it opened at a new, more visible location last month. At least 20 new families have benefited from the move behind Dayspring Ministries Thrift Store on the corner of Caratoke Highway and Puddin Ridge Road, she said.

Inside, the full shelves are a testament to the combined efforts of local businesses, churches and volunteers.

The shelves came from Border Station, produce comes from Food Lion and Powells Farm Market, bread comes from Panera Bread in Chesapeake, Va., and the volunteers come from several churches in the area, including Moyock United Methodist Church.

Schuster said she doesn’t usually name the many local contributors and volunteers. Some prefer to let “God get the glory.”

Still there’s one contributor who she can’t help naming.

The rent and utilities are paid by Dayspring Ministries Thrift Store, which operates at the front of the building near the U.S. Post Office.

Schuster once ran the thrift store for years, then known as Brothers’ Keepers of the Albemarle, but gave it up to run the pantry and care for her mother with Alzheimer’s.

Now the thrift store is operated by Old Paths Baptist Church at the end of Guinea Mills Road in Moyock. Schuster said the church cleared out books at the back of the thrift store, an florist shop before that, for the new food pantry. The thrift store also pays the utilities, including the electric bill for four freezers.

Pastor Jeremai Byrd said picking up the tab for the food pantry utilities has not been a problem.

“The Lord provides, and we do it because he says to do it,” said Byrd.

After expenses, proceeds from the thrift store go toward a home in Currituck for troubled young men, he said.

Schuster said local contributions and volunteers keep the food pantry, a member of the Food Bank of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, in business.

Sometimes those contributions come in unexpected ways. One woman stopped by the store one day with a $500 check, recalled Schuster.

“She told me, ‘I like what you are doing,’” said Schuster.

The food pantry also relies on some regular contributions from churches and private individuals, said Schuster, a volunteer herself. She plans to apply for some grants to help keep the new food pantry going.

“If people don’t work together it just doesn’t work,” said Schuster. “We have the community involved now, and it has some good momentum.”

The food pantry is only beginning to meet the need, said Schuster. According to the Food Bank of the Albemarle, the new location is reaching only about of a third of families who need help, said Schuster.

The food pantry in Moyock is open Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 2-4 p.m. Residents are allowed to visit once a month. A picture identification to prove Moyock residency is required.

Schuster said she expects more people will be coming once more people know about the food pantry.

She’s already anticipating she will need more volunteers. She could use shoppers who can spot a good deal. Schuster doesn’t like paying more than $1 for the items she needs.

Many of the food pantry’s staples — sugar, flour, peanut butter, cake mixes — are purchased at Food Bank of the Albemarle at a minimal cost. Money donations go a long way with those purchases, Schuster said. Now with school out, she’s hoping to pick up some snacks, such as microwave popcorn, for families who visit the food pantry.

She likes that families can select what food they want from the shelves. Boxing up the food means families may not get food they like to eat or need, she noted.

Putting baby food in a box doesn’t help unless there’s a baby in the family, she explains.

Watching families get what they need is her reward, Schuster said.

“Helping people, that’s the whole thing,” she said.

Contact Cindy Beamon at

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Pastor of Moyock UMC