St. Joseph of the Pines Gives Food, Funds to Coalition
This April, the Sandhills/Moore Coalition for Human Care served 144 more families than it did in April 2007. In response to the tremendous need, St. Joseph of the Pines emergency food drive for the Coalition got off to a running start Sunday, May 11, and food and monetary donations poured out of the collection boxes before the first pickup was even scheduled.
Sponsored by the volunteer services and pastoral care departments of St. Joseph of the Pines (SJP) Health System, the emergency food drive was a response by the organization's associates, volunteers and independent living residents of Belle Meade, Pine Knoll Overlook and Villas and the Coventry's assisted living residents to help quell the depletion of food from the shelves at the Coalition.
Those connected with SJP who gave individual monetary donations heeded the call for help and gave a total of $2,330. The donation of money did not end there. Leaders of SJP decided to embellish that amount by donating another $2,500 from the health care organization's community benefit fund directly to the Coalition.
In addition to these donations, for three weeks in a row, food items were collected and forwarded to the Coalition.
"This time I was sure to put an extra large box out at Belle Meade since past experience told me the food donations there would be overflowing from week to week," says Jeralie Andrews, director of volunteer services.
"Volunteer Dick Henry went out to make the collections the first Wednesday of the drive and told me he didn't think it would be necessary for him to take his golf clubs out of the trunk of his car. The following week he left his clubs at home on his volunteer day. The volunteers at St. Joseph of the Pines Health Center did a great job as well filling the box at the volunteer station in the lobby."
Ken Cormier, president and CEO of St. Joseph of the Pines, says, "This is yet another example of the compassion and willingness on the part of the staff, volunteers and residents of St. Joseph of the Pines to rise to the occasion and provide assistance to those in need."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in Moore County in 2005 there were 10,556 people living in poverty, and 3,536 were children.
"As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of families asking for help at the Coalition," says Caroline Eddy, executive director of the Coalition. "This April, we gave food to 567 adults and 441 children. Last year in April, we gave food to 471 adults and 376 children."
Eddy is a witness to the harsh fact that due to the rising cost of groceries and gasoline, it is "very difficult for families on disability, fixed incomes, or with a lot of children to make ends meet," she says. "It is hard to believe that in beautiful Moore County, we have many people who struggle to feed their families, but it's true. These are the working poor and the people living on fixed incomes."
Clients of the Coalition are screened carefully by trained volunteers who check income levels, expenses and the details surrounding their emergency.
"I can assure people who give to the Coalition that there is little or no abuse of the system at the Coalition," says Eddy. "People who come to us for help are usually here as a last resort and desperate for help. They are very appreciative of the support from St. Joseph of the Pines, the churches and the community that makes the Coalition possible."
Eddy expresses the appreciation of the Coalition and its volunteers for the assistance received from SJP.
"You are helping many, many people," Eddy says.
SJP, as part of its mission, is committed to helping the community who may be in need of basic services and to providing assistance when possible, says Cormier.
"We wholeheartedly support the efforts and hard work of the Sandhills/Moore Coalition for Human Care and the wonderful service they provide to our community," he says.
"I am so amazed at what St. Joseph residents, volunteers and St. Joseph's itself did for those in need in Moore County today," says Eddy.
"The four truckloads of food was amazing enough, and then to collect $2,300 and for St. Joseph's to jump in with a gift of $2,500, is fabulous. I am just so grateful. This will buy a lot of food for people in Moore County who are struggling. And there will be many children who will have food this summer thanks to this generosity. We are feeling truly blessed to live in this community with the staff, volunteers and residents of St. Joseph's. You are very caring and compassionate, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Jeralie Andrews is the director of volunteer services at St. Joseph of the Pines.
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