The public has a little more than three weeks left to donate to Christian Ministry’s annual Christmas Fund, and already, the total has exceeded the organization’s target goal of $50,000.
“I am encouraged,” Executive Director Susan Brymer told the Times-News on Tuesday.
While numerous area churches, schools, businesses, families and other residents have each donated between $5 and $10,000 in the first two weeks alone of the nonprofit organization’s holiday fundraiser, food pantry shelves remain almost bare.
“If we could just get the food in here,” Brymer said.
In the past few months, a variety of Lincoln County schools have collected a significant amount of food for the organization. In addition, Christian Ministry headed the cost and delivery of 12,000 pounds of food items from Charlotte’s Second Harvest Food Bank to Daniels Lutheran Church on Friday, according to Pastor Ted Bost.
Volunteers from Daniels Lutheran along with Asbury and Pisgah United Methodist Churches used the food to fill more than 200 boxes for nearly 460 people, Bost said. Each box, donated by Carolina Container Corporation in Hickory, contained 57 pounds of food.
Even with the large influx of food items, the community stays hungry, and the soup kitchen feeds an unprecedented-sized crowd every day.
“People have been bringing the food in our doors, but we’ve been using it faster,” Brymer said.
Currently, Christian Ministry has only one part-time employee to interview all families seeking Christmas Fund assistance. Once the four-hour interview limit concludes, waiting families who don’t get screened are forced to return the next day.
Despite the long wait, sometimes in frigid temperatures, no family leaves hungry. Non-profit officials hand out food bags to those forced to return a second day.
“We can’t turn people away without food,” Brymer said.
While the Christmas Fund has exceeded its goal for at least the second consecutive year, the Fund does not supply soup kitchen food, and officials are afraid they won’t have enough items to supply the community with daily meals through even the end of the month.
There will be enough food for the Christmas boxes since local churches are in charge of getting items together for the holiday food giveaway on Dec. 20, Brymer said.
Christmas Fund donors through week two are as follows:
Christian Ministry, located at 207 S. Poplar Street in Lincolnton, is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Individuals may mail Christmas Fund donations to Christian Ministry, P.O. Box 423, Lincolnton, N.C. 28093. In addition, groups of six to eight people interested in volunteering with the organization can call (704) 732-0383.