Second Christmas Meal planned for Richfield Park

With the recent disagreements in Richfield regarding the opening of a Community Table, one former Stanly law enforcement officer will host her own event in the town.

Rachael Armstrong, who previously worked for the police departments of Oakboro and Locust as an officer, along with volunteers are organizing a Second Day of Christmas meal Dec. 26 from 11 am-2 p.m. at Richfield Park.

Along with a takeout traditional holiday meal, those in need can also receive canned food, cold weather clothing and more as supplies last. The entire community of Richfield has been invited, according to a flyer distributed in the area.

Armstrong said she dealt with hunger and homelessness for much of her early childhood, including sleeping in the back of a car.

“It’s always been a hot-button issue for me for homeless people to be treated with dignity,” Armstrong said.

Reacting with frustration to a previous story in The Stanly News & Press about the Richfield Community Table, Armstrong, now living in Charlotte but having grown up in Stanly, said this was something which frustrated her about her hometown.

Describing herself as more spiritual than religious, Armstrong said people may call themselves Christians, but “you are very unlike your Christ. It bothers me people feel this way, and I grew up in the church.”

Armstrong said she reached out to Richfield United Methodist Church, the proposed location of the Community Table, describing what the church having gone through as awful.

“They’ve been threatened. They’ve been treated poorly. They’ve had doors slammed in their faces. They’ve been concerned about church property,” Armstrong said. “If they’re going to be threatened, I will take the burden off the church. I, a private citizen, am capable of feeding people like any other private citizen.”

Her Facebook group for the event now has more than 70 followers, with many having volunteered to work at the event or made donations. The event will follow COVID restrictions and workers will have PPE at their disposal. Those attending are also asked to wear masks.

Armstrong further stated she does not like to see the politicizing of the event. “We’re just feeding hungry people and everyone gets hungry. That’s what I don’t love about people judging other people.”

Several businesses in Stanly and Mecklenburg counties have been raising food, clothing and other donations to help put on the event.

Armstrong has contacted the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office and said members of law enforcement are welcome to come get a dinner and be recognized for their efforts in the community.

This event, she reiterated, is not directly affiliated with Richfield UMC, CrossRoads Connections or the Stanly Community Christian Ministry.

Armstrong said she hoped the event would be an opportunity to be an olive branch to those in the community concerned about those who are hungry and homeless, or “the type of people coming through a food line.”