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The call for help went out from The SPOT; and community members answered it immediately.
Custom Quality Packers of Sims donated 350 pounds of meat, the Wilson Police Department rolled out a half dozen cookers and volunteers mobilized to serve the evening meal.
Since March 16, The SPOT has been serving meals to children out of school as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It is very important. With this pandemic here, I think it is bringing us closer together,” said volunteer David Applewhite of Wilson. “The community needs us. We have people who just can’t afford to feed their families with this extended period out of school. We actually are grateful for The SPOT to do be able to do this in the community, and I am happy to be back to help.”
Baylie Gagne, an organizer of the free meal service, said the call went out on Facebook and received an overwhelming response.
The breakfasts and lunches are covered by the Summer Meal Service Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the evening meals have been coming out of The SPOT’s pocket.
“It is a huge help,” Gagne said. “As you know, dinner is not covered, so donations like this are making a huge difference.”
“Last week, we continually went up in number every single day, and today will be a record-breaking daily number for us. We are already on track for that. We are exceeding 700 lunches and close to that in breakfasts as well, so we expect to break 2,000 today in one day at one site,” Gagne said.
As of lunch Tuesday, The SPOT — a youth center whose name stands for Sharing Positive Outcomes Together — had served 10,441 meals.
“That’s what we have served so far up to lunch today since we started serving last Monday,” Gagne said. “We are really honored that we are able to do this right now.”
The support of the volunteers means a lot, Gagne said.
“It is really exciting to see the community coming together in such a time of need,” Gagne said. “Wilson is such a strong community and so tight-knit. Just having these people come out and show their support, I know means a lot. The families coming through here say thank you all the time. We get texts and messages, and we got thank-you cards last week. It is not going unnoticed by the people we are serving.”
Richie Fulghum said the Wilson Police Department’s Police Athletic League, or PAL program, often collaborates with The SPOT.
“They asked us to come out and help cook today, and of course we are more than glad to,” Fulghum said. “Since we were stuck at home for the last two weeks, it is good to come out and get the barbecue smelling good.”
Fulghum said Tom Piggott and R.C. Hunt from Custom Quality Packers are “wonderful.”
“They donate sausage at Christmas to the firemen and the police department and the sheriff’s office,” Fulghum said. “They are pillars of the community, always donating to a good cause. They donated over 350 pounds of meat that we are more than happy to cook for them. That will feed 500 kids just about.”
Three whole hogs and two cases of shoulders were served Tuesday evening, which included some 150 pounds purchased by The SPOT.
The volunteers spent all day cooking the pigs.