At the beginning of March, the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) began its 2nd annual March Madness Food Drive. Little did they know that the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament would be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ECCCM staff decided to continue with the food drive as planned, knowing it could turn out to be a massive failure.
As the threat and consequences of COVID-19 continued to develop, they began to see a greatly increased need for food assistance in the community. As stay-at-home orders were implemented, and lay-offs and job losses soared, so did the need to fill their food pantry, and as schools closed, and students faced additional food insecurity, the need of stocking the pantry was exponentially multiplied.
According to Kelli Kaylor of ECCM, "that's where nightmare and beauty collided. God saw a need, and filled it. Those who read our Facebook posts and emails, and then shared our need with their friends, made the effort a major success.
"God filled it through those who dropped off food and those who made donations online. God filled it through the spirit of friendly competition, even amidst the cancellation of our food drive’s namesake, March Madness. God most certainly saw and filled the need during one of the scariest times in recent history. God filled it through a member of an ECCCM supportive church, who felt called to rally the weight of his alma mater to bringing home the win for Wake Forest in the 2nd Annual March Madness Food Drive.
"You see, it wasn’t really about the month-long basketball tournament. It was about something so much bigger than our minds could have conceived even a month or two ago: a greatly increased demand for food which we didn’t see coming, due to a disease of which we had never heard. Thankfully, we serve a God who sees and knows all, and supplies all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. Our wonderfully supportive community answered that call by donating nearly 5,000 more pounds of food than last year!"
While the March Madness Drive raised a bountiful amount of food, it will be much needed with hard times already present and likely to continue.
Those in need of food assistance from Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry should call 828-465-1702, and do an application via telephone. By the time applicants come for their pickup at the food pantry drive-thru, paperwork will be ready to be signed, and a food card will be issued. A staff member or volunteer will deliver food to the client’s car. After this initial pickup, clients will simply go through the food pantry drive-thru and present their card for subsequent pickups.