GREENSBORO — The man from southern Randolph County just wanted to drop off the packages of grits and bacon, bags of potatoes and the 20 dozen eggs in his minivan.
“We don’t need to know about the whos and the whys,” he said, wanting to remain anonymous.
“People need it and that’s about it.”
The man read about a last-minute grass-roots effort in Greensboro to provide breakfast to the hungry because the Hospitality House closed for a week. The nonprofit is the only place in the city that provides breakfast to people who are hungry every weekday except Wednesday, when the Greensboro Urban Ministry has a community breakfast. Urban Ministry otherwise serves breakfast only to those who stay overnight at the Weaver House.
Blogger Michele Forrest, who advocates for the homeless, had asked other bloggers and readers for help in preparing breakfast on Thursday and breakfast and dinner today for upward of 150 people — and to get the word out to the hungry. On Thursday morning, about 100 people showed up to eat at Grace Community Church, which allowed the group to use its deck for the breakfast. They hope to draw more today as people learn breakfast is available.
“We were able to give people seconds on the stuff they wanted,” said Forrest, who credits the group of volunteers that quickly assembled around her with making it happen. “It was awesome.”
Breakfast is again at Grace this morning. Tonight, dinner will be served near the downtown public library — and with chicken added to a planned menu of succotash and salad, an excited Forrest just learned, because Chester’s Chicken just gave the group a huge discount.
Advocates for the hungry — only some of whom are homeless — say filling these meal gaps are so important because many of the city’s needy follow a schedule dictated largely by what organization is serving what day. If anything changes — if the food runs out or the operation shuts down for the only employee’s vacation — it means one fewer meal for them.
Several merchants quickly responded to Forrest’s plea for food. Great Harvest Bread provided loaves of bread from its shelves, and Simple Kneads offered assorted pastries. Starbucks donated coffee, sugar, cream and cups. Employees of LGS Innovations donated their time and $150.
“While I talked to them about the homeless and the hungry, they gave me all they could ... and by the time I left their stores they were thanking me,” said Janet Watford, who picked up the Great Harvest and Simple Kneads donations and helped serve the food right before her full-time job.
“I so got the feeling,” she said, “that they felt Christ’s blessing for their act of charity.”
Dorothy Robinson had planned to donate coffee but found that Starbucks stepped in.
“It’s just something I think people need to pay attention to,” the 85-year-old said of wanting to do something.
A young men’s Bible study group that usually met on Thursday mornings instead used the time to help those in line.
“It was amazing to see how caring people can rally to meet the needs of others,” Watford said. “But without the charismatic leader, Michele, this would never have happened.”
Contact Nancy H. McLaughlin at 373-7049 or nancy.mclaughlin