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Ice cream social to aid Christian Ministry

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Cheerwine, apple pie, Oreo, maraschino cherry, peanut butter and banana peach are just a handful of the delectable, old-fashioned flavors that will be available at this weekend’s annual ice cream social fundraiser for Christian Ministry’s soup kitchen.
More than 20 ice cream churns helped feed the community at last year’s large-scale event, Christian Ministry’s Executive Director Susan Brymer said.
Both the nonprofit organization’s staff and church officials at Salem Lutheran & United Church of Christ northwest of Lincolnton have united with local potters for at least the fourth consecutive year to raise awareness about an issue that continues to plague the community’s poor — hunger.
“It’s the only ice-cream-social fundraiser … for a nonprofit that I’ve ever heard of,” Brymer said. “It’s a real neat, original idea.”
For $10, individuals can continuously fill a handmade pottery bowl with scoops of their favorite “cool” treat.
Brymer made no apologies about the local soup kitchen’s dire need for support this year.
“We need the money desperately,” she said. “We are having to buy so much food right now.”
Between the Christian Ministry food pantry and soup kitchen, officials have had to purchase close to $5,000 a month in food items.
Financial giving is down from both community and church supporters, a problem Brymer said is connected to the poor economy.
“We’ve been doing poorly financially,” she said. “Churches are not meeting their budgets, and it’s now showing up in the church community.”
While the soup kitchen typically feeds more than 100 empty stomachs per day, nearly 200 people have been crowding the facility at lunchtime in recent weeks.
“One man came back four times for refills,” Brymer said. “He said, ‘I’m just hungry.’”
Food always runs low near the end of month, and more people are relying on a free meal each day to conserve their rapidly diminishing grocery stocks at home.
For too many starving citizens, the soup kitchen provides their lone daily meal. Even with food stamps and one of Christian Ministry’s daily food boxes, certain residents remain hungry.
Christian Ministry provides daily food boxes for roughly 35-40 families and as many as 55 families one day last week, Brymer said. Each box is filled with $100 worth of food.
Throughout the week, local grocery stores provide the kitchen with extra food from their surplus supplies, and area farmers donate homegrown produce, Brymer said. In addition, Second Harvest Food Bank donates soup kitchen supplies, but the Charlotte-based organization also continues to see limited resources.
Christian Ministry officials hope this weekend’s tasty event will usher in between $3,000 and $4,000 for the soup kitchen.
The fundraiser will be 3 p.m. Sunday at Salem Lutheran & United Church of Christ, located on Startown Road. Thrivent Financial is co-sponsoring the event. For more information, call (828) 244-9591 or (704) 732-7320.
“The ice cream is just plain ‘ol good,” Brymer said. “We ask people to dig deep and help us with a few dollars.”

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