Moore Buddies Give Back to the Sandhills
In just nine hours Monday, Feb. 23, the staff, volunteers and youth of Moore Buddies collected more than 300 bags of food for the Sandhills/Moore Coalition of Human Care's Food Pantry.
Moore Buddies, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides one-on-one mentoring to Moore County youth, encourages their mentors and mentees to participate in service projects once a month that help their community. In February, as they do every other month, they chose to help out the Coalition.
"This is a great learning activity for the kids," says Chrisy Connell, executive director of Moore Buddies. "We're always amazed at the generosity of our community. Even in these economic times, people always step up to the plate. We've wondered if we would see a big drop in what people were able or willing to give."
But that drop was nonexistent that afternoon as folks who were coming in to purchase just one item, came back out with something for the Coalition.
Positioned in the lobby of Lowes Foods in Olmsted Village, mentors and mentees handed out grocery lists to any shopper who would take one, and in turn many came out with one or two items, and some came out with bags of groceries just for the Coalition.
Two men came in just to purchase motor oil, but upon check-out, they'd also purchased some spaghetti sauce just for the Coalition's food pantry. One woman forgot she was going to purchase something for the food pantry, dropped her cart off with the Moore Buddies volunteers, went back inside and came out with a bag full of soap. Another woman who could barely walk and had trouble with her cart was determined to help, and she too came out with groceries for the Coalition.
Small acts of kindness such as that filled cart after cart and eventually took over every square inch of counter space back at the Coalition's Food Pantry.
"What a great service learning activity this is for the kids," Connelly says. "Not only are they involved in giving back, but it helps these kids work on their social skills."
Connelly says the experience of asking for donations teaches the youth how to handle rejection.
"Not all folks will take the paper," Connelly says. "So they learn to keep a smile on their face, say thank-you. It's all those little nuances these kids don't do very easily, this pushes them out, causes these kids to have to approach people, make eye contact, etc.
"It's not the mentors doing it. They're just there to coach and encourage their mentees."
Connelly says helping the Coalition is a good match because it helps a large number of people in the county as well as the children they serve.
The idea of a regularly scheduled food drive dedicated solely to the Coalition is the brainchild of Moore Buddies AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Dottie Laton. She started out with one and when that proved a success she started holding them every other month.
Monday's was called the "Love Your Neighbor Food-A-Thon" because it lasted longer than any they've held in the past. This was the fifth food drive for the Coalition.
"I thought it went well," Laton says.
"I'm excited and we're going to try and get another one set for April. We are committed. And by April most people will be out of their tax money and will need the extra help."
The Coalition is always accepting food donations and donors can drop off food Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.at the Voit Gilmore Client Services Building, located at 1500 W. Indiana Ave.
Volunteer screeners see clients Monday-Friday, 8:30 to 11 a.m., also at the Voit Gilmore Client Services Building, to determine their eligibility for food, clothing and financial assistance.
"We at the Coalition are very grateful to have such great community partners like Moore Buddies and all those who donated during their food drive," says Coalition Executive Director Caroline Eddy.
For more information, visit the Coalition's Web site at www.sandhillscoalition.org, or call 693-1600.
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