With a line of cars wrapped around Springfield Baptist Church, and occasionally shutting down traffic on 501, Gleaning for the World was hard at work giving back to the Brookneal community on Saturday, September 12.
“It really takes everyone working together and community support to have a successful feeding program,” said Gleaning for the World president Jeane Smiley-Mason.
Pastor Jerry Stanfield, co-president of the Brookneal Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) says, “Jenny from Foster Fuels called us and got us in contact with Gleaning, and we all went from there.”
Together, Gleaning for the World, several churches and local businesses got together to set up a community event to hand out truckloads of frozen food, bread, vegetables, hygiene items and toys.
The event was planned to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the line started forming around the building and into the main road by 9 a.m. Thankfully, the Campbell County Militia was there volunteering to help with traffic control and parking.
“Everyone is just trying to give back to the community today,” Mark O’Brien, Gleaning’s warehouse manager said. “Everything Gleaning brought today is donated, frozen chicken, cheese, sliced bread, personal care items, toys, produce. 95% of it is donated, and the little bit we buy to supplement comes out of our operating budget.”
The event also received help with more than just food and personal items.
“Joe Lunsford, over at Williams Lumber, he donated the forklift for the day and manpower,” Smiley-Mason said.
There were also three local churches that had members volunteer their time to set up tents, unload trucks, package food and hand out items.
Smiley-Mason said, “Foster fuels has been involved too, and another group called Puzzled that raises support and awareness for autism. A local orchard donated apples, we had someone donate a load of candy, gummy bears, and individually wrapped popcorn balls.”
The need in the area is great, as cars were lined up for hours. Some even came on foot to wait in line for food to carry home.
O’Brien said he thinks the event provided needed help for the surrounding area.
“The long line and people coming so early really speaks to the need in the community,” O’Brien said. “Working together with the local churches and community, we really are just here to help fill that need.”
With so many people in need, participants were given items based on how many people they were picking up supplies for.
“A lot of people have to get rides, or don’t have a way out so other people will come for them. In that instance, we see how many families each car is picking up for, and then we distribute things that way,” said Smiley-Mason.
O’Brien said Gleaning for the World will work with donors, even if they aren’t sure what to donate.
“We always need donations, but what we need always changes,” O’Brien said. “People who want to donate can call and see what we need, or they can donate monetarily so we can purchase what we need.”