The Gathering reaches out to senior adults with food program

Published 2:07 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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A number of civic groups, churches and other outlets in Stanly have undertaken efforts to help those affected by the COVID-19 situation.

Included in that effort is The Gathering, a downtown Albemarle church, which has put forth a program to help feed those 60 years and older.

For every $20 donated, members of the church will purchase up to 15 items of non-perishable food to be boxed up for a person or family in need.

The purchases will be made by The Gathering’s missions team through local vendors, where items will be sanitized, boxed and delivered.

A form to be filled out for individuals and families to qualify is available on The Gathering’s Facebook page (¬†or on the church’s website (

Paul Jenkins, head pastor of The Gathering, said the idea of the program is to help people while minimizing the number of hands coming into contact with the food items.

“With the way the coronavirus is spreading, we didn’t want to have that many hands on (items),” Jenkins said. “People will donate the money and we’ll take care of purchasing it, wiping it down, making sure it’s clean, then getting it to the people.”

With the ban on group gatherings like church, The Gathering plans to use Sundays as a day to sanitize and box food, along with a live church broadcast.

Jenkins noted local stores are getting hit hard right now, but he wanted to support local businesses with the program and not order online.

He noted he felt if the church did a food drive it might encourage people to stockpile items not allowing others to get them. The way this program his, Jenkins added, would be better to go one box at a time and not buy up all the items at one time.

“It’s personal. It’s slow so it doesn’t overwhelm the stores and keep others from buying things,” Jenkins said.

Around 10 people have already been submitted for the program, which was launched this week, along with $600 donated, good enough for 30 boxes.

“We don’t want to create that scarcity people tend to feel,” Jenkins said. “(The program) is our chance to love people in the city and help people breathe, (to know) they are taken care of.”

Falling in with the church’s mission, Jenkins said the program is not just about right now in the crisis, but about moving forward.

“We want to build relationships and partnerships with people in the city that lasts a lot longer than this pandemic.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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