Volunteers from Baptists on Mission (BOM), also known as North Carolina Baptist Men, are serving at distribution sites across the state getting food to those affected by COVID-19.
“Our disaster relief volunteers, our disaster relief leaders, drivers and staff are working so hard to make this possible,” said Richard Brunson, BOM executive director-treasurer.
Baptists on Mission received a $1.6 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide around 8,000 Farmers to Families Food Box on a weekly basis. The boxes were announced April 17 as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. It is currently designed to end June 30 but could be extended.
Around 180,000 pounds of food – 150,000 pounds of produce/fruit, 2,000 gallons of milk, 2,000 pounds of cheese and 9,600 pounds of meat – is being distributed to around 10,000 families each week.
Brunson said 200 churches and community centers signed up to distribute this food.
“From Murphy in the west to the fishing town of Atlantic in the east, we’ve set up 17 different distribution sites for the produce boxes and 15 different distribution sites for the meat, milk and cheese boxes,” he said.
Most of the USDA grant money will be spent on food for people, but some will be used to pay for refrigerated trucks, fuel and other expenses. The North Carolina Missions Offering donations made through N.C. Baptist churches across the state are also helping with the cost of this ministry.
BOM provided more than $130,000 for COVID-19 grants and $100,000 for bulk food for churches who are cooking for people in need in their communities.
Brunson said the organization is working through 2-1-1 and CoronaCommunity.org to identify people who are high risk and have food or medicine needs. BOM has connected more than 300 families with local churches who have ministered to their needs.
Hurricane recovery efforts also continue at several locations. With COVID-19 restrictions, most of the work has to be done with local volunteers but there are some sites that can host small groups.Visit baptistsonmission.org or ncmissionsoffering.org.