Stocking shelves

Martha’s Mission Cupboard volunteer Matt Ramsey of Morehead City stocks depleted shelves Wednesday at the food pantry, which is in need of donations to provide food for families for the holiday season. (Cheryl Burke photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — Martha’s Mission Cupboard, a nonprofit food pantry that provides food to county residents, is in need of donations to provide meals through the holiday season.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of families coming to us for assistance,” Martha’s Mission Manager Ginger Wade said Wednesday. “A lot of people are out of work and we’ve had a lot of people with medical issues and sick children, which breaks my heart.”

Ms. Wade added there seems to be a lot of larger families coming in.

“That’s hard, especially at the holidays when you want your kids to have a Thanksgiving meal,” Ms. Wade continued. “But if it comes down to paying for medicines or rent, what do families do?”

To illustrate the increase in numbers, Ms. Wade said during the month of October, the mission served 301 families, which is a 48% increase over the 203 families served in October 2018.

Those who come to the mission for assistance must be referred by the County Department of Social Services, the County Health Department, churches, counseling centers or other human services agencies and organizations.

Ms. Wade said items that are needed include fixings for turkey dinners, such as gravy mixes, stuffing and pie shells. She emphasized the mission has plenty of canned green beans and corn and local grocery stores and churches have offered to provide turkeys.

In addition to donations for holiday meals, Ms. Wade said the mission also provides food boxes with items such as spaghetti and sauce, Jell-O, puddings, soups and boxed foods, such as hamburger helper or tuna helper.

Plus, the mission helps families with hygiene and toiletry items, such as bar soap, laundry soap, dish detergent and toilet paper.

Among those lined up to receive food Wednesday was Linda Nelson of Morehead City. Ms. Nelson said she and her husband are on fixed Social Security incomes and her husband has numerous medical bills.

“My husband is on a lot of medicine, and when you pay your light bills, water bills, it gets hard to keep up,” she said. “If we couldn’t come here for help, it would be awful.”

It also takes numerous volunteers to organize and distribute the donated food that comes in to the mission, and Ms. Wade said she needs more help.

Among volunteers stocking shelves and filling orders Wednesday was Matt Ramsey of Morehead City. Mr. Ramsey said his wife has several medical issues and volunteering at the mission helps him keep things in perspective.

“Working here makes everything that can happen to a person seem not as bad. It seems to make things better by helping others,” Mr. Ramsey said.

Ms. Wade said the mission couldn’t help residents without the dedicated support of volunteers and donors. She thanked all those who aid the mission.

Those interested in volunteering or donating food and items can come by the mission at 901 Bay St. during regular hours, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They can also call the mission at 252-726-1717 to make arrangements for other drop-off times if necessary.

Those wanting to make monetary, tax-deductible donations can make checks out to Martha’s Mission and mail them to P.O. Box 603, Morehead City, NC 28557. They can also donate through PayPal on the mission’s website at

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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