Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
Between 2010-16 North Carolina has regularly ranked among the top 10 states with the highest percentage of citizens experiencing food shortages. Nearly one in six people in North Carolina experience food shortages. Approximately 160,000 different people in the state receive emergency food assistance in any given week, which is equivalent to feeding nearly every resident of Asheville, Chapel Hill and Elizabeth City every week.
In Macon County, the Serving Spoon works weekly to provide a hot meal every Thursday for those in need locally. Each week starting at 6 p.m., volunteers gather at the Franklin Memorial Park, formerly the Jaycees Park, to provide a free community meal.
Serving Spoon is just one of the programs of Macon New Beginnings, Inc., whose mission is to serve a hot meal and share lives with those less fortunate in our community. Each week, the Serving Spoon serves an average of 30 to 40 guests weekly.
“The meals are provided by churches, businesses and individuals from our community, said Macon New Beginnings director Bob Bourke. “We have a variety of meals including Chick-fil-a, meatloaf, pizza, spaghetti, sloppy joe’s, etc. The meal selection is up to the sponsor providing the meal.”
In addition to providing a hot meal every Thursday, local businesses donate food to the Serving Spoon to provide guests with something to take home to help make ends meet.
“Several businesses donate breads, donuts, vegetables, etc. for our guests to take home,” said Bourke.
Heading into 2018, the Serving Spoon has five slots available for businesses, organizations, or individuals interested in sponsoring a meal. Bourke said that while the majority of the dates are filled for 2018, they would like to get sponsors for the remaining dates to finish out the calendar.
Each sponsor provides the drinks, entrée and dessert. Sponsor volunteers help serve our guests along-side Macon New Beginnings volunteers.
“Not only does Serving Spoon provide sustenance, but also helps build community,” said Bourke.
More than just a meal, those who volunteer with the Serving Spoon and help to provide the meal, are able to interact with the guests and help build community and fellowship, often times, that interaction is more meaningful to the guests than the meal itself.
The following 2018 dates do not have providing sponsors: 3/29, 5/29, 8/2, 9/6 and 11/29. If any organization or individual would like to volunteer either to serve and/or provide a meal contact Macon New Beginnings, Inc. at (828)202-3103.