By Contributor Andy Lee
Each week, the shop’s profits are used to purchase food from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and the food is given away 9–11 a.m. every Saturday when the coffee shop opens as a food pantry.
According to Tammy Ritter, the visionary and manager of Holy Grounds, 130 to 135 bags of food are prepared weekly, depending on the shop’s revenue and donations.
There are no qualifications necessary for participants. Each person is asked to fill out a form, answering basic questions regarding the size of their family, name and address. The Food Bank requires this information. The only rule Holy Grounds enforces is one bag per person.
I met with Ritter on a Friday after closing. Volunteers had transformed the coffee shop in preparation for Saturday morning. The shop was filled with long tables laden with breads and cookies, bag after bag of food, juices and cereals. I was amazed at the bounty of provision.
After the last volunteer left, we sat alone in this holy place. “Should I take off my shoes?” was my initial thought.
But the building that houses Holy Grounds doesn’t have a holy history. It was a once bar!
When the bar closed, Calvary Chapel leased the empty building and restored it into a warm, inviting coffee house. Red brick walls, rod-iron chairs, and modern décor now create a comfortable and homey atmosphere complete with pool table, comfy couch corner and Wi-Fi.
I was privileged to witness Holy Grounds Food Pantry in action.
As people streamed through the organized line, they received a bag of food and extra items of their choice. Everyone was invited to grab a free cup of coffee and doughnut. The coffee shop was filled with laughter and chatter as the recipients and volunteers mingled. Some received prayer while others wrote out prayer requests.
Saturdays are a blessing to both volunteers and participants.
Also, one of the most exciting developments for Holy Grounds is about chicken! The House of Raeford, a poultry company, will soon be donating frozen chickens every month. The pantry was also given three freezers to store the meat.
Yet despite these blessings, there is still a need. It is difficult to start a new business in this economy. Ritter shared her hopes for local businesses and churches to partner with Calvary Chapel and Holy Grounds. A donation of $100 a month would help stock the pantry with more food so that no family is turned away empty handed.
If you would like to help by donating food, time or funds, stop by the coffee house. They are open 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also contact Tammy Ritter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.