By Jennifer Kim
UNC Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
(Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this story, the names of Rose Greene and Paula Veasey were misspelled. The VOICE regrets the error.)
Asbury Temple United Methodist Church, located at 201 S. Alston Ave., has helped feed the hungry in the community for seven years through the Feed My Sheep food bank program.
Feed My Sheep operates on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, distributing hot meals and letting participants select groceries to take home.
The program started by feeding 20 families once a month and has grown into an operation with 10,000 grocery distributions this year.
The church, constructed in 1925, has had a long history in Northeast Central Durham (NECD).
Julius Davis, director of Feed My Sheep, said he hoped the church can be a beacon of light in NECD where people feel like they can come to find help.
“Anyone out there with issues or hopelessness can always follow that light to help and hope. We all get lost at some point in time,” Davis said. “We’ve paid the price for being in this neighborhood, but we’re still not running away.”
Davis and a couple volunteers answer calls, buy groceries, cook meals and apply for grants.
As the program grew, Davis applied for various government grants and continued collecting donations from the church to cover the cost of the food bank.
Davis worked as a sous-chef in Durham and Atlanta until a knee injury from a football accident flared up. He said he had to have a complete knee replacement and at one point doctors considered amputation.
Davis said he was ill for two years without much mobility and said he’s grateful for the ability to walk again. This inspired him to start volunteering at Feed My Sheep, where he eventually became director.
He said juggling his different responsibilities becomes hectic as times, especially without a receptionist to take calls or a translator for the Latino community.
Rose Greene said she benefited from the program when she lost her job and her family was struggling financially. However, she and her family have dedicated every second and fourth Saturday to volunteering at the food bank.
She said she has been taking people into her home for the past 13 years. She said she gladly takes people in who need help and somewhere to stay. Greene said her resources are limited, which makes it challenging to feed the extra guests.
“I don’t collect dogs and cats. I collect people.” Greene said. “They get nicknames like uncle this or cousin that.”
Greene said receiving groceries from the food bank and the fulfillment of volunteering have improved her family life.
“It has really helped my family because it helps us have food. It allows me to give back to the community,” Greene said. “It helps me help the folks that are in my household become a part of the community.”
She tells the women who she mentors, “You can’t expect things to happen if you’re just sitting at home expecting them to happen. You have to give back.”
Greene said she has worked as the director of a halfway house and has mentored many women in need.
“If you serve, then things will be given back to you,” Greene said. “And I truly believe that.”
Paula Veasey works as an organizer of the Durham Food Pantry Network, a nonprofit which networks different food pantries together and collects donated food items.
Veasey said people in hunger are not what the public often stereotypes them to be and that many families are disadvantaged due to circumstances out of their control.
“Sometimes people have a misconception of people that are in need,” Veasey said. “They think perhaps they are homeless people who could maybe go out and get jobs. And that’s not true. A lot of the people that we help are out of their jobs.”
Davis said he hopes people can use the food bank as a mode of temporary help while the church tries to help them find more concrete resources to improve their situation.
“I don’t want to see the same faces on Saturday mornings,” Davis said. “We want to be able to put people in a position where they don’t need us.”
One thought on “Feed My Sheep: reaching out to the community”
Erica Evans says:
This article was very well written, but has a few grammatical errors. The names are Rose Greene and Paula Veasey. I am Chairman of the Board for Feed My Sheep and I really want these people recognized for the great work they do. I hope there is a way for you to let people know the correct spelling of their names. Thanks,
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