Food Lion baking loaves for Rowan Helping Ministries
By Noelle Edwards
The Food Lion on Jake Alexander Boulevard has added one more question for associates to ask at the check-out register, but as new employee Twyla Smith said, “It’s for a good cause.”
The store is asking customers to buy a loaf of Italian bread in the checkout line for Rowan Helping Ministries. A big display case at the front holds the bread that’s been donated.
Everyone who donates a loaf gets to enter his or her name in a gift card giveaway ó not just a Food Lion gift card, but any gift card sold in the checkout line.
Wednesday was the first day of the drive, and the store collected 50 loaves.
That was as many as the bakery made, Hartsell said, and the store ran out by 8 p.m. She didn’t want any to go to waste.
Thursday the bakery made 100 loaves, and by 2 p.m., more than half had been sold.
Rodney Moore, store manager, said customers have generally been willing to help.
Hartsell said, “People are needing food now more than they ever have ó not just because it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas but just because they need it.”
She said people who use food stamps are often anxious to help other people in drives such as this because they know what it’s like to be in a hard place financially.She said people are often willing to buy something small going through the grocery line when they couldn’t or wouldn’t make a large donation.
The loaves have a two- or three-day shelf life, so Hartsell will be delivering them every day or so.
Dianne Scott, executive director of Rowan Helping Ministries, said the organization can use whatever Food Lion sends along. She said the organization prepares 200 meals and gives food to 50 households on any given day.
She plans to use the bread in the food pantry, the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter.
Hartsell wanted to give the bread to the Shelter for Battered Women, but no one called her back to work out details.
That was true of several organizations she contacted, she said.
Scott said one advantage of giving the bread to Rowan Helping Ministries is that it will be distributed in a variety of ways.
Every Food Lion is supposed to push bread sales, but not every Food Lion is giving the bread away.
Hartsell said the goal is to actively sell an item ó bread, or in the past, Honey Buns and Lance crackers ó and each store can choose how to sell it and what to do with it.
She said the plan at her store is to boost sales and help people in the community at the same time.
In two weeks, the store sold 1,700 Honey Buns for West Rowan and Salisbury high schools.
The two schools’ football teams went head-to-head the first weekend of the project, so the rivalry was intense, Hartsell said.
Before that, the store sold Lance crackers ó about 2,000 packages ó for troops stationed overseas.
“It’s exciting when you’re selling to help the community,” Hartsell said.
Food Lion will sell Italian bread through Oct. 6.