Free food grows giving attitude in Zebulon
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
July 29, 2010

Free food grows giving attitude in Zebulon

Free food grows giving attitude in Zebulon
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
July 29, 2010

Standing on the side of North

Carolina Hwy. 39 in the Pilot community, Elaine Lewis holds up two signs and

talks to the coming cars with the same words: “Free Vegetables.”

Lewis and her cohort Teresa

Alford spent a recent Saturday manning a roadside produce stand — for the

ministry, not for the money. Lewis and Alford talked about how much this

project through Pilot Baptist Church in Zebulon means to them.

“It’s been really nice,”

said Alford. “Most of the time it all gets gone.”

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

From left, Elaine Lewis and Teresa Alford man the farm stand for Pilot Baptist Church in Zebulon, which distributes free produce to passersby. See video.

While Lewis’ garden came

early this year, she’s still

sharing its bounty with others. This week she brought new potatoes to

share with church members and at the roadside stand.

The church partnered with a

local non-profit called Grow & Share, which fights hunger by promoting

gardening and community building.

The stand is near the church

with signs dotting the road in both directions to notify people of its

presence. It started the first week in July and will continue until the crops

are harvested. While it’s open a couple of hours Saturday morning, ministry

happens throughout the week.

“Sometimes when people bring

it to your door, it’s easier to accept,” Alford said.

Picking up

On Fridays, Alford gets a

phone call from a farmer and fellow church member about what’s available on his

land. She and her husband, Jan, who had the idea to start the ministry, go and

pick what’s available.

“When it’s ready, it’s

ready,” she said. “It is a job. There’s no doubt about it.

“We’ve been talking about

doing something. Everybody has their gifts. We can be up here and man the


And if there happens to be

leftovers on Saturdays?

Easy answer: make bags for

shut-ins and other neighbors.

Some of the people visiting

the stand said they heard about it through the local newspapers.

“It means that you have a

bigger meal,” one lady said. “It means a lot.”

Another said it helped

stretch the budget for her family. Plus it provides fresh, nutritious fruits

and vegetables.

“The Lord wouldn’t leave me

alone until I did something about it,” Jan Alford said. That’s when one of the men

at church told him about Grow & Share.

“I think we’ve all received

a blessing from it.”

Kay Whatley, one of the

founders of Grow & Share, said she and her husband started the non-profit

in 2008 “when everything was going poorly for our nation. Some of our kids’

friends from school started taking part in backpack buddies. Things were crazy

out there.”

They hated to see people

choosing to skip buying medicine or food in order to pay the mortgage.


started thinking there must be something they could do. While the dry weather

has hurt production, the results are still a blessing.

Volunteers at Pilot Baptist

Church have helped advertise the non-profit and aid their neighbors through

this ministry.

“It seems like it’s easy and

people are willing,” she said.

Grow & Share gave away

14,000 plants this year. “Some planted an extra garden just for this,” she


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