With Christian Ministry experiencing an all-time low in food supply numbers this season, and hungry residents radically increasing in number, Randy and Carolyn Marcum developed a way through the aid of their church parish to supply the local nonprofit organization with items year-round.
“We knew supplies were getting low,” he said.
The “Two-Can Program” is centered around the premise that if at least 200 of the nearly 400 families at Lincolnton’s St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church donated a minimum of two cans or other necessities weekly each month, the county would have a lot less hungry stomachs.
“Prayerfully, ideas on how to do this kept coming in,” Randy said, “and we made signs, a speech and had speakers kick it off.”
The church has since gathered volunteers to donate the food to Christian Ministry and make large advertisement boards, both in English and Spanish, for the church lobby.
“Everyone bought in,” he said. “It is working great.”
The program, which officially kicked off in August, has already seen a collection of nearly 1,000 items per month and a total of $250 in cash, Randy said.
In addition to canned goods, members can donate items such as toilet paper, rice, beans, oatmeal and cooking oil, according to a church flyer.
St. Dorothy’s already holds bi-annual food drives for Christian Ministry in March and September, but twice a year just wasn’t good enough for the Marcums.
“What we need to do … is find a way to make a sustainable food source for the poor all-year long,” Randy said in a recent speech to parishioners about the program.
He went on to tell his church that there are several reasons for why someone may be poor, most of which are “due to no fault of their own.”
“These are the sheep that Jesus refers to when he told Peter to ‘feed my sheep’ three times,” he said.
“These two cans could make a world of difference in the lives of people who cannot support themselves and need your help. To you, it may be a sacrifice of a couple of cups of coffee or a couple of soft drinks per day; to them, it will provide a good meal.”
Randy also has a goal to present the idea to a number of other area churches, encouraging them, too, to join in the fight against local hunger.
“If only a few of the 103 churches in Lincoln County adopted such a program, there would be no one hungry here at all,” he said.
Unfortunately, hunger is not just a local issue but one that plagues people at the state and local levels including many North Carolina households and one in five children, according to Hunger in America 2010, a report published by Feeding America in February 2010.
Feeding America is the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the nation, according to its website.
The report notes that nearly half of needy families must choose either food or heat each winter, but not both, and that 170,000 North Carolinians receive weekly emergency food assistance.
Randy hopes to “keep the program fresh” in parishioners’ eyes but is confident that his “community-active” church won’t fail him or the community.
“If it is going on at a charity in Lincolnton, there are people from St. Dorothy’s there,” he said.