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CADA's Mobile Food Pantry Keeps Going Thanks to Faithful Volunteers

The Rev. Pam Taylor is a Methodist minister in Northampton County. Her husband, the Rev. Ronald Taylor, is a Baptist minister in Bertie County.

Sunday dinners at their home, Sallie Surface laughed as she talked about the ecclesiastical couple, “must be pretty interesting.” Whatever their theological differences, Surface said, she is delighted that there is one thing the Taylors both agree on: regardless of which pulpit they find themselves in on Sunday, on the fourth Monday of each month, they are together in Rich Square passing out food to the hungry in Northampton County.

Surface, executive director of the Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA), said the reverends Taylor are among the many loyal volunteers who ensure that the area’s needy are fed. CADA is a member of the N.C. Community Action Association, a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families struggling financially to get back on their feet.

The Rev. Ronald Taylor, pastor of Aulander First Baptist Church, said “it’s a joy” to be able to contribute in his old neighborhood. “I’m back in a community where I grew up, and I’m seeing the children of people I grew up with.”

As for any denominational conflicts – his wife, Pam, is pastor of two A.M.E. churches in the area – he said “All of that’s just manmade stuff. We work well together.”

Surface said providing sustenance to the hundreds of people who show up at the mobile pantry “is a lot of work, but it’s a mission the community and our staff have accepted. Whether it’s sleeting, snowing, raining or 100 degrees, they’re here.”

Speaking of 100 degrees, Surface said CADA could sure use a commercial freezer to store meats and milk. If you have one or know someone who does – or want to contribute to the purchase of one - contact her at 252-539-4155.

Not even the coronavirus pandemic has stemmed the tide of volunteers streaming to Rich Square once a month to help unload trucks from the Albemarle Food Bank, pack boxes and load automobiles.

Even though the volunteers “are not letting anything stand in their way,” Surface said, they’re still being wary of the virus that has claimed more than 250,000 lives in America and more than one million worldwide.

“We’re still observing the three W’s,” Surface said. “ Wear your mask, wash your hands and wait and stay six feet apart.” Surface, noting the long line of cars and trucks, said that the deliveries were “contactless.”

That’s not exactly true: from the grateful looks of the people who’ll be able to eat and feed their families for another month, it’s obvious they have been touched deeply by the kindness and generosity of the people who made it possible.

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