When it comes to Food Lion, many would just assume that it is just a grocery store, but Food Lion is much more than that. Donnie Huyke, store manager, and Rick Sclater, assistant store manager, are on a mission to feed the many people of Clinton S.C.
When I sat down and talked with them, I was expecting to have a simple business talk about the grocery store operations, but that was far from the reality of what actually happened. I realized that their mission was to not only provide valuable items for purchase, but also ensure that nothing goes to waste. As I toured the back, I quickly learned that items removed from the shelves do not go into the trash as I had expected, but are donated to local charities. The amazing duo invited me to United Ministries to watch the process as the food comes in, and the distribution process to the many citizens that live in and around Clinton.
These men did not show up and just drop things off. They packed boxes and loaded up cars all in sync with the other volunteers.
Operated by Will and Teresa Ferguson, United Ministries only has two paid employees; the rest are volunteers. As I watched Mr. Ferguson manage such an organized and well-run facility, he managed to take a break and show me how everything functions. Although they have two paid employees, Ferguson and his wife are completely volunteer. This organization packs at least 165 snack packs per week throughout the school year for the children of Clinton; over 280 families a month come and gather food boxes that are packed with vital nutritious items. Working with Food Lion and Harvest Hope is a big part in making this a successful operation. As I was speaking to Ferguson and the other volunteers, none of them wanted any credit for anything, but that alone deserves praise because what they are doing comes from the heart. They come faithfully every week to make sure that others have a fair chance at a decent meal.
After spending some time with these amazing individuals, it gave me an even greater since of pride for the place I call home. It is amazing to see and feel the passion that these people have when it comes to providing meals, and the love and compassion that they have is contagious. However, the giving does not just stop there; Food Lion is also donating food to our local service men and women of the City of Clinton and our amazing teachers and students at the local schools. Just when I thought things could not get any better, they pulled another one out of the hat!
One thing is for sure, when Food Lion decided to come here, they hit the ground running and have quickly become a vital part to our community. These men and women at Food Lion and United Ministries do not seek anything; but when you see them, let them know how much they are valued because they are really feeding the hearts of this community.
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