Outreach center ending Monday meals

Lack of volunteers cited

By Dean Palmer - Special to the News

At its recent meeting, the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center Board of Directors approved a pair of changes that will affect longstanding center programs.

Effective immediately, the center is discontinuing its Monday night community meal program.

For more than six years, the center had partnered with various local organizations, primarily made up of area church groups, to provide periodic free meals in a welcoming atmosphere to all who wished to take part. The Charles Stone Memorial Library has served as a partner throughout the project by providing space for the meals in the Warren Stone meeting room and access to the kitchen area in its lower level.

Board members also approved a shift in hours for the center’s thrift store, eliminating Saturday hours and opening the store on Wednesdays. Last Saturday was the final Saturday morning for the store and it is scheduled to begin Wednesday openings this week.

“Both of these changes are being made because of losing some volunteers and having difficulty getting others,” noted Jimmy Caparolie, who serves with his wife, Karen, as co-directors for the center. “We’ve lost some good volunteers because of job situations and others because of aging.

“We’ve particularly had trouble finding volunteers for Saturdays,” he explained. “But volunteers are in general becoming more scarce and I think we’re seeing that for a lot of organizations. Some are hearing that things are better and there’s not as much need but that’s just not the case in rural America. And our area is an example of that. It’s easy to lose sight of the need that’s still here.”

Caparolie said that some of the sting felt by the closing of the Monday night meal program is being absorbed by several area churches which now host their own community meals. In recent years, attendance has decreased from a high of averaging nearly 100 persons per meal. But, he noted, a steady following of old and new participants still enjoyed the meal and the fellowship.

“We’ve met a lot of good people and made a lot of good friends over the years,” Caparolie said of the meals. “A lot of time and energy has been given by a lot of great people and we appreciate their efforts as well as the library, but any ministry has to go through changes and adapt. It’s time for a change.”

The center’s thrift store will continue to operate under a new schedule of Tuesday through Friday, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. According to Caparolie, the store serves a dual role of providing families and residents with quality, heavily discounted used clothing while also helping to fund the center’s other help ministries, including its food bank.

In other items of business, the center will continue its end-of-summer bag sale through Sept. 8. Summer items only are being offered at $3 per plastic bag and $5 per paper bag.

Board members also decided to make available for sell to the public a box truck and 3three vans owned by the center. According to Caparolie, the vehicles have been replaced by smaller vans which are more accessible and convenient to the center’s needs. Any interested parties may contact the center at (336) 368-4907. If no answer, all messages will be returned.

The Caparolies will also be taking part in a mission trip to the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation in South Dakota, leaving on Sept. 21. The Pilot Mountain Outreach Center will be collecting new or quality used blankets, quilts and heavy winter coats to be given away during the trip.

Jimmy Caparolie said winters on the reservation are extremely harsh, with temperatures reaching -20 degrees and below. Warm clothing and bedding is a much needed commodity for its residents.

The coming weeks will be a time of transition at Pilot Mountain Outreach Center.

“We appreciate all the years of support and all the help we’ve received,” Caparolie said. “And we’re praying now that the Lord will send more volunteers our way. We’ll just have to see what the future holds.”

Lack of volunteers cited

By Dean Palmer

Special to the News

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