BAMBERG — At a time when so many people are out of work and money is scarce, one of the greatest gifts they can receive is food and friendship.
Across Bamberg County, a total of 250 individuals or families opened their doors Saturday to find a smiling face and an armful of food awaiting them. Those who gave and those who received all benefited from the annual Cheez & Cracker Box Christmas Food Delivery Day.
More than 40 volunteers gathered before 8 a.m. at the Bamberg First Baptist Church fellowship hall to fill grocery bags with non-perishable food items. The collection of canned goods, sugar, grits, stuffing, mac and cheese, rice and other staples, along with fresh apples and oranges, will equate to nearly a week’s worth of meals, organizers noted.
Ryan Brooks, a senior at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School, was helping out for the first time. It was an experience he would repeat in a heartbeat, he said.
“I feel like this is a great way to help the community,” Brooks said. “It’s a privilege and a duty.”
Brooks said he hopes he can influence other young people to do the same.
Runelle Weeks, who has helped coordinate the Christmas food distribution event for about 27 years, said this year’s diverse group of volunteers worked well together and the bagging and deliveries went like clockwork. Many of the youths and adults had been coming to help for years while others were helping for the first time.
“It feels good to do this,” Weeks said. “It is a great community effort for such a good cause.”
Weeks said the support extends beyond the workers who put the food bags together and deliver them. She commended the IGA in Ehrhardt, where many of the staple foods are purchased, for their continued support of the project. Enid Bishop of the Cheez & Cracker continues to direct the event.
“Our youngest helper this year was about 6 years old and our oldest in their 70s,” Weeks said.
Volunteers included: Lee Williams, Rick Maxwell, Woody Harrison, Genni Williams, Tracey Strickland, Amber Strickland, Madison Strickland, Whitney Fogle, Cassidy Fogle, Jason Fogle, Chelsea Williams, Tommy Burbage, Sydney Burbage, Copeland Burbage, Brandy Williams, Shawn Bernsteel, Jack Izlar, Paul Sandifer, Teresa Smith, Ginger Godley, Reedy DeRienzo, Anna DeRienzo, Wesley McAlhany, Runelle Weeks, Billy Weeks, Matt Maxwell, Cody Bishop, Caitlin Bishop, Sam Lucas, Conrad Bishop, Bonnie Miller, Michael Cornforth, Barb Pinson, Jack Gerkin, Bonnie Harrison, Pam Hutto, Josh Ness, Mary Katherine Bamberg, Savannah Tager, Paul Glenn, Ryan Brooks, Larry Long and members of the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School wrestling team.
Pic # 1291 Volunteers from across Bamberg County and from Bethel Baptist Church in Orangeburg filled and delivered bags of food to families on Saturday as part of the Cheese and Cracker Box’s annual Christmas Food Distribution Day. Over 250 households were served thanks to generous contributions.
Contact the writer: 138 Nature’s Trail, Bamberg, SC 29003.