ROCKINGHAM — State Rep. Garland Pierce isn’t afraid to wrinkle his suit. Not when the needs of his constituents weigh so greatly on his mind.
Pierce, a Scotland County Democrat, joined Rep. Ken Goodman and Sen. Gene McLaurin on Thursday afternoon at Falling Creek Park in Rockingham to distribute complimentary food boxes to 300 families in need. The three had pooled their money as a donation to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to sponsor the event with the Rockingham Housing Authority.
“A lot of people are having a difficult time,” Pierce said. “It’s a good way to give back.”
Dozens of cars were lined up and down Hood Street. Drivers didn’t have to exit their cars; the assembly line-style operation was a smooth and efficient one.
“We have enough boxes to feed 300 (families) and I think we’re gonna have that many today,” Goodman said early in the afternoon.
Volunteers and Food Bank associates were serving hams, canned goods, popcorn, chips and fruit among many other items. The majority of the food items appeared to be from Food Lion and came by the pallet load.
As cars move through the line, they are asked by volunteers how many different families are represented in the vehicle. It’s based on the honor system, but each family gets a ham, box of food and a case of pink lemonade.
From Dec. 2011 to Dec. 2012 the Food Bank distributed almost 2 million pounds of food in Richmond County with the value of that food being just under $4 million. That is all donated from other sources and 97 cents of every dollar donated is spent on food distribution.
Michael Cotton, branch director for the Food Bank, said, “Any money donated today goes right back to Richmond County down the road.”
The event was deemed a success based on the number of vehicles and people that showed up — so many so that many were worried the boxes of food would run out before the cars did. That’s motivation enough to start planning for the next one.
“Based on what we’ve seen today,” said McLaurin, “we want to do it again.”