With a busy holiday season completed, volunteers at the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center will soon be turning their attention to a new year of helping those in their community with need. And as has been the case over the center’s first fourteen years of operation, the center will look to rely on local support in order to meet those needs.
The center recently concluded its annual Thanksgiving and Christmas programs.
Thanksgiving saw 140 bags of food handed out to families on Thanksgiving morning, providing all the essentials for a traditional holiday meal along with a dessert appropriate to the size of each family.
Food bags were prepared by local churches, with some help from individuals and civic organizations, while local grocery stores helped with accompaniments.
The center’s Christmas program saw 40 area families served with a food supply for two weeks (the time of local children’s holiday vacations). A “toy store” also provided parents with the opportunity to shop for gifts for about 100 children. Counseling also provided and clothing, including coats, was given away as needed.
Both Thanksgiving and Christmas programs utilized a large group of volunteers. Estimates placed the number of volunteers taking part at 25 for Thanksgiving day and 35 for the 3-day Christmas project.
“Our number of volunteers was down,” noted center Co-Director Karen Caparolie, “but everyone pitched in and we were able to do what was needed.”
In voicing appreciation to volunteers, Karen and her husband, Jimmy Caparolie, are also quick to point to the day-to-day volunteers who help at both the food bank and the thrift shop throughout the year.
“They’re what keep this going,” Karen Caparolie explained. “Right now, with several open spaces, we have a desperate need for more volunteers.”
The center’s food bank provides a periodic 8-10 day supplemental food supply, along with counseling, for families with need.
The thrift shop provides discounted clothing and other items to residents while raising funds to keep the center operating.
The center also sponsors other programs that reach into the community. An example is the bi-monthlyt Monday evening meal program at the Charles Stone Library, where center representatives join with local groups and churches to host a free meal open to anyone. An average of 50-80 residents attend the meals, which fill social as well as food needs for residents.
According to Caparolie, additional church and civic groups are needed to join in hosting the meals.
A planning meeting is scheduled for January 10th, beginning at 6 p.m. at the center, to look at scheduling meals for 2017. All interested parties are invited to attend and learn more about the program. The center is located at 317 East Highway 52 Bypass in Pilot Mountain.
“During the holidays,” Karen Caparolie said, “you wonder what people would do if we weren’t there. The volunteers have fun being a blessing to others, just like Jesus enjoyed loving those around Him. This isn’t about the toys but about sharing God’s love. That’s what makes it worth it.”