GEORGETOWN—About 232 families went home with fresh fruit and produce after a food distribution effort at St. Cyprian Church July 16. The give-away was a partnership between the church and Catholic Charities’ Pee Dee Office.
“It was a wonderful initiative,” said Vincentian Sister Madeline Kavanagh, parish life facilitator. “There was a beautiful spirit among the people served, the team from Catholic Charities, and volunteers.”
The food was purchased from Low Country Food Bank and distributed among families from 6 to 8 p.m. in the church hall. Participants received blueberries, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage and watermelon.
The choice of produce reflected an ongoing effort to promote a healthy lifestyle and a desire to branch out into Georgetown County, said Kelly Kaminski, regional coordinator of Catholic Charities Pee Dee office. She noted that it can be difficult to eat healthy when people experience food insecurity.
“We’re so thrilled with how it went,” Kaminski said. “To serve 232 families in two hours is great.” She credited Sister Madeline and St. Cyprian, for being receptive to the idea, helping to get the word out, organize, and carry out the food distribution.
Sister Madeline said she was moved by many aspects of the outreach.
“It was so touching because the people were happy to be there, and neighbor got to know neighbor as they waited in line,” she said. “There were many informal conversations about things such as recipes. People came early, waited patiently, and appreciated what they received.”
Though part of the evening was about feeding people, the social interaction was poignant, Sister Madeline said.
The spirit of cooperation was everywhere. A group of men from the neighborhood gladly broke down dozens and dozens of produce boxes for recycling the next morning.
In all, the religious sister said the experience was one of diversity that contributed to an ecumenical spirit.
She expressed gratitude to the many volunteers who made it happen, including those from the parish, Baskervill Food Pantry, Precious Blood Church on Pawleys Island, and a Spanish-speaking translator.
The event was so successful that St. Cyprian Church and Catholic Charities are already planning to do it again, Sister Madeline said.
By Sister Margaret O’Dwyer, DC
Special to The Miscellany