Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church unveils food pantry makeover

·3 min read

Sep. 10—A Gloverville food pantry recently got a makeover.

Thanks to a $6,700 grant from Food Lion, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Center was able to make improvements to its food pantry. An unveiling ceremony was held Sept. 9.

The grant was to help Our Lady of the Valley improve operations at its food pantry, increase its capacity to distribute food to those in need and purchase necessary equipment, according to a press release.

The pantry received the funds through Food Lion Feeds' The Great Pantry Makeover effort. In addition to providing funds, local Food Lion associates will donate volunteer hours as part of its largest associate volunteer initiative to provide additional support.

"We submitted the grant to Food Lion Feeds and we won," said Jessica Raborn, community impact coordinator for Golden Harvest Food Bank in South Carolina. "So that included renovation for the pantry. It was two palettes of food, $6,000 for the renovation, $3,000 in gift certificates to help stock the pantry, and through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears yesterday, we got it done and it looks beautiful today."

September is National Hunger Month. Food Lion supports food pantries throughout the year, but in September, they try to focus even more of their efforts on agencies and other services such as The Great Pantry Makeover.

"At Food Lion, we support our local pantries and our hunger agencies specifically in the month of September," said Billy Harcum, director of operations for Food Lion. "We try to connect with our communities and really support in these times where inflation is so high. We know a lot of folks who are struggling to make ends meet. In September, across the organization, we make this our focus. "

As part of the makeover, Food Lion donated a small freezer, a small cooler and some shelving. New lighting also was installed in the building that houses the food pantry.

The coolers have glass fronts so clients can see through them and more easily pick out their items in an effort to make it feel like they are shopping.

"We want to empower the clients through a normalized shopping experience," said Raborn.

"During the pandemic obviously, they couldn't have a shopping experience," said Harcum. "Now that we've kind of got that past us, this particular pantry wanted to create that experience again for their clients so we're very happy to support them again in shelving as well as food to get their pantry stocked back up again."

The grant also allowed the church to get other refrigerators and freezers and purchase several thousand pounds of food for the pantry.

Our Lady of the Valley Church hopes the makeover will help them better provide for the community.

"We feel honored and blessed that our pantry was chosen for this award," said Joely Leguizamon, site administrator for Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Center. "We are deeply grateful to Food Lion and Golden Harvest for choosing us and it is our hope that with this revamping of the food pantry we can better serve our community."