These are indeed the times that try men's (and women's) souls. Fortunately, while there are those who are hoarding toilet tissue, sanitizer, water, and all kinds of meats and other grocery items, there are also those who are doing their best to help their neighbors (including the ones they never really knew) during these difficult times.
One caller took us (the Lincoln Herald) to task this morning because we hadn't run an article about the hoarding and complained that stores aren't limiting purchases. One supermarket he mentioned by name told us that they are limiting purchases of some items, but the caller insisted the store manager shrugged when he complained the limits weren't being enforced. There isn't any law that says you can't buy more of a product than you reasonably need, but there is, of course, a law during emergencies (like we have now) that prohibits price-gouging. The NC Attorney General's office has received about a thousand complaints of that so far.
While some may be looking out for themselves and showing no concern for the needs of others, there are others who are doing quite the opposite. Among them is Kathy Vinzant of United Way of Lincoln County. She's the executive director, but as always, she has gone far beyond the requirements of her position.
Lincoln County Schools are trying to make sure that children who rely on school breakfasts and lunches for their nutritional needs continue to get fed during the time when schools are closed. They're offering food for the kids at eight different schools from 11 AM - 1 PM daily.
- Battleground Elementary
- S Ray Lowder Elementary
- West Lincoln Middle School
- North Brook Elementary
- Norris Childers Elementary
- Iron Station Elementary
- East Lincoln High School
- Pumpkin Center Intermediate School
Parents/Guardians can pick up the food (fruit, vegetable, sandwich, and milk) and a breakfast (fruit, milk, cereal/breakfast entrée) for the next day. It's a drive-thru service.
Kathy has arranged with Associate Supt. Dr. Aaron Allen to add a second giveaway for families with serious needs. After picking up the lunch and breakfast items, they can go a bit further down the line and get a bag of groceries.
The Schools Central Office at 201 Jeb Seagle Drive, Lincolnton, is the drop off site for anyone wishing to donate non-perishable food. They will have carts outside on the sidewalk. Those who want to contribute are asked to leave any donations outside on the carts. That will limit the number of people in contact with others. They will have volunteers to take the food inside and prepare the bags for distribution.
Items needed include bread, canned fruit, soups, spaghetti sauce or canned pasta products, boxed spaghetti, tuna fish, meat sticks, ramen noodles, mac and cheese, peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, canned chili, canned vegetables, canned ham, beans, canned stew, jelly, dried fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, rice, granola and protein bars, non-dairy milk, rice and soy milk, baby wipes, toilet paper and paper towels.
Kathy says if her east Lincoln neighbors want to contribute and cannot get to Lincolnton, if they'll call her, she'll meet them at a convenient location in Denver and get their contribution to the Central Office.
While the food program at Lincoln County Schools is for all children (up to age 18) whether they are students in Lincoln County Schools or not, Lincoln Charter School has identified 14 families in need they are trying to help. Those wishing to contribute to that effort should bring contributions to the Denver campus Friday (3/20) or Tuesday (3/24) from 1:00 to 3:00 and leave it outside where carts will be available.
Kathy says she is again impressed by how Lincoln Countians are responding to help their neighbors. Food drives have been conducted at Timken, Robert Bosch Tool, Peoples Bank, Magic Cleaners, the Chamber of Commerce, Pursuit Church and "so many others--industries, businesses, churches and individuals."
At Christian Ministry of Lincoln County in Lincolnton, the soup kitchen continues to operate, but with some changes. The kitchen is no longer serving clients inside. They are now handing out meals to those arriving outside from 11 AM until 1 PM.
To avoid spreading COVID-19 they are limiting volunteers. Before coming to volunteer, those who want to help should call Teen Sigmon at 704-748-4961.
The ministry’s clothing room is currently closed and they are not accepting any clothing donations at this time. Showers are not available, nor are laundry services, furniture and household items.
Christian Ministry of Lincoln County is located at the corner of E. Water St. and S. Poplar St. in Lincolnton. If you need help or would like to volunteer, you can call 704-732-2691 or 704-732-0383.
At East Lincoln Christian Ministry, director Laura Moore says "we were well-stocked and in good shape...and then this happened." Now they not only are short on many items they need for needy families, their suppliers are unable to provide bulk shipments. "We really need help," Moore told us.
For those who want to contribute, ELCM is located at 4278 Burris Rd. off Campground Road in Denver just past Rock Springs Campground. They need all kinds of non-perishable food items but also dish detergent, laundry detergent, paper towels and toilet tissue! "In addition to helping needy families, we have 75-80 homebound clients who receive meals through our Home Meals program," Moore said. Anyone who can donate needed items can bring them to the ministry and leave them in either of two drop-off windows on the side of the building near the loading dock. For more information, call 704-483-4415 between 9 AM and noon.
While some have criticized President Trump and others have criticized Governor Cooper for actions they have taken, this is not the time to 'make political hay.' It's a time when we all need to help each other. It's really true--like it or not, we're all in this together.