Sandman and I were not always able to easily feed our crew, even when our crew was as small as the three of us. We started out just fine. Wedding, jobs, house, baby and then we moved from Georgia to Virginia and the wheels fell off! The cost of living nearly killed us. We were on WIC, a wonderful program that literally was our bread and butter for years. In Georgia, we had a big, beautiful historic house and then, when we landed in Virginia and (after scraping together a sufficient down payment while living on peanut butter and jelly in an apartment) we bought a fixer-upper with a leaking roof, a shifting foundation, dirt basement and floors that made playing marbles with our son, very exciting! We had a hard time keeping the lights on and food on the table while Sandman was in PGA school. Then we had our daughter, Vannie (things got even tighter)! Anyway...
We've developed a real heart for the hungry, as we have a full appreciation for the desperation, despair and humiliation, an empty tummy can bring.
An Instagram of Vannie at breakfast when the smell of bacon, cooking at a restaurant across the street, got us to put down our bowls of cereal and cross route 12 for something much yummier!
Each year, when our beach week is over, I stress about the amount of food that's left for the garbage. Unopened boxes of this, cans of that, all bought at the beginning of the week with the full intention of saving money by cooking at the beach house but then tossed out at the end of the week when we didn't eat them (because the fried wonders, about town, beckoned loudly to be eaten)! We live just two and a half hours from the Outer Banks, so really, I bring home as much as I can, but rarely am I brave enough to bring home the cold kept items and I never bring home the frozen items! You just never know when your short trip will be doubled on I-64 and your frozen items spoiled. My extended family hails from Tennessee and Maryland, so they don't bring home more than they can munch in the car during their trip!
I've always wondered why there wasn't a place readily available for the collection of beach-goer foods for the hungry beach-inhabitants! Surely, someone has thought of this, besides Sandman and me!
This year, since we were "taking our time" going home (trying to avoid the mass exodus on the highway), I packed up our unopened, frozen and refrigerated items in one of those "free with purchase" bags, before we turned in our keys and we set off to find a place to deliver them. I always tell the kids,
"Missions present themselves if you just keep your eyes and ears open for them."
I was determined to show them that this was true, even on vacation. If we had to pass out the food under the bridges and piers, we would. We've been known to do it before. Why not on vacation?
I fumbled through tiny page, after tiny page on the wifi connection on my phone, at breakfast and made a few calls. What I found was that there is a food pantry in Kitty Hawk! Donations from local food drives provide them with large amounts of food but they run out of food regularly! Unfortunately, they are only open for drop off during the week between 2 and 4 o'clock! They take, both, dry and perishable foods but since our checkout is Saturday (like most of the rentals), this won't help the hungry or those who wish to help! Food Lion in Kitty Hawk and the Dare County Library both take donations but they only take dry goods! That may help some, but not those with frozen things to give. I found a list of churches that contribute and help with the food pantry in the Outer Banks, so I started there! The third church I called answered! Yeah! My hope was that the friendly voice at the other end of the phone could give me a location for drop off! Again, I was shocked that this sort of thing hadn't occurred to anyone down there before, but Connie at Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church, was happy to wait for my arrival and helped me find a place in the church freezer for the donation of our foods! They will deliver them to the food pantry for us!
For now, if you are going to vacation in the Outer Banks, and you have food to donate at the end of your stay, you may bring your food to the following locations:
Dry-goods and Perishables on Saturdays may be donated at:
Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church
803 West Kitty Hawk Rd.
Kitty Hawk, NC, 27949
Call first, to be sure someone is there to help you. Connie is my contact person. She knows to expect calls and deliveries.
The Beach Food Pantry is located at 3809-D Croatan Highway in the Sea Dunes Shoppes in Kitty Hawk between milepost 4 and 4.5. If you wish to donate directly, you may do so Monday - Friday from 2 - 4 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 12 pm. This doesn't help much, if your check out is on Saturday or Sunday, but if your check out is on Friday and you can get yourself moving quick enough, your window of donation-opportunity is between 2 and 4:00! Hurry!
Dry-goods Only, may be donated at:
Dare County Library
400 Mustian Street
Kill Devil Hills
Any location in Dare County should have a donation box.
For current information on food drives at the beach and the hours of operation, of the Beach Food Pantry, you may visit their website HERE!
We now have contacts in the area, and first thing on Monday, we are calling OBX churches, Realtor's offices, the Beach Food Pantry and the HOTline women's shelter to see if we could coordinate drop off locations, times and items with the checkout times for the beach-goers!
If everyone who stays at the beach has one bag of food at the end of the week, to donate, the people of Dare County may never know hunger!
It's a start! We'll keep you informed, as this develops in the future. Spread the word!
Sandman & Me