East Stokes Outreach Ministry assisted 321 families throughout the month of April, according to director Marchelle Brown.
The nonprofit organization helps thousands of people who live on the eastern side of N.C. 8 in Stokes County, but recently had a need of their own. The exterior siding on their building was slowly deteriorating.
“We tried a number of things, but each of them was a temporary fix,” Brown said.
Longtime volunteer and board member, Angie Bailey approached the Town of Walnut Cove in late 2017 and requested $16,000 to brick the exterior façade.
The town granted the ministry $8,000 towards the project and said they would likely fund the remaining costs.
“Every dollar creates seven meals and that’s a whole bunch of food,” Bailey said. “The need keeps increasing and the outreach ministry is important to our community.”
The ministry distributes around $10,000 of food per month and $1,600 in personal care items, Brown said.
“We have the thrift store on the other side which helps supply needs, but we can always use direct donation, whether it’s monetary or in food.”
Brown said she’s recently noticed the look of households are changing.
“We’ve seen older grandparents coming in, who are caring for their grandchildren permanently. All of a sudden you have someone on a fixed income that is now taking care of a brand new family. They didn’t prepare for it and they’re in dire need,” she said.
Another scenario she often sees is spouses caring for their husband or wife and the couple struggle to keep up with their mortgage.
“I met with someone this week and they were two months behind, and once that happens, everything else seems to multiply,” she said. “It sounds easy to say, ‘Get a job’, but there’s often more to it. We’re not here to judge because we know every person has their own story. We want to fill a need and hopefully guide them on the right path.”
Brown thanked the Town of Walnut Cove for their investment in East Stokes Outreach Ministry.
“It really means a lot to us. We hope it will attract new customers and it’ll make our long term customers feel good about shopping here.”
The brick facade was completed April 29 and Brown said they’ll be adding signage and landscaping in weeks to come. The popular painted mural that hung on the outside of the ministry and was created by South Stokes art department years ago, is no longer being used because the panel began to rot, Brown said.
“We still have the original drawing and we’re going to have the county’s barn quilt trail create something for us, which will mean we’ll be part of the national registry. We’re hoping it will bring even more people to the thrift store.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.