ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – We’ve faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, but so many in our community are rising above those challenges, determined to do good.
When you need a hot meal in your stomach but have nothing in your pocket, you go to Stepping Stone Mission in Rocky Mount. No one hungry is turned away. Feeding 350 people a week volunteer and board member Ruth Carey said it has taken a team of volunteers to make it work.
“It is wonderful being here. It’s like every day you see people coming here to be kind to other people. It helps restore your faith in people,” Carey said.
When restaurants closed to crowds, so did soup kitchens. So, Stepping Stone Mission started offering take out.
Carey said their biggest challenge of 2020 has been raising money.
“One of the worst things was all of our fundraising activities that we used to do were prohibited by COVID, so we couldn’t have groups of people coming together,” Carey said.
While the need was great, their determination was greater. In the middle of a pandemic Stepping Stone Mission started a business in their basement.
They opened a thrift store called Joanne’s Treasures, hoping to provide high-quality items at a low cost to those in need, while generating enough money to keep the soup kitchen open.
“The people that have stepped up during this are magnificent. A lot of them are repeat characters. They will come quite frequently,” Carey said.
Despite the struggles of the times, volunteers remain determined to give back to their community.
“It gives people an opportunity to show that they care,” Carey said.
Carey said the thrift store has been very successful. The public can help the cause by donating new or gently used items to the store located in the basement of Stepping Stone Mission at 1105 N. Main Street in Rocky Mount. Food and monetary donations can also be made to the soup kitchen or volunteer. For more information visit their website.