30,000 pounds of food distributed to city’s needy

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 25, 2005

Jessica Mathias came to the Operation Blessing food distribution event Saturday needing a little extra help. She ended up giving much more.

Waiting in line with the hundreds of others who came to get some food from the eighth annual Suffolk Impact-sponsored event behind the Main Street Farm Fresh, Mathias went to the bathroom.

&uot;I was in a stall, and I heard someone say, ‘Help me,’&uot; said the Lakeland graduate, who’s planning to enter the Army’s medical field. &uot;I ran to the next stall, and there was a woman looking like she was fainting.&uot;

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The woman told Mathias she was a diabetic, and needed some water. Mathias brought her some napkins and a sno-cone, and a mint to give the woman some sugar. Then she held the woman’s hand until the rescue squad arrived.

&uot;I wanted to make sure she was OK,&uot; said Mathias, who lost her grandmother to diabetes in March. &uot;Something told me to stay with her. It made me feel good inside.&uot;

So did the food.

&uot;There’s eight of us living in my house right now, and things are pretty tough,&uot; she said. &uot;I just started back working. This is going to help us out a lot. Money’s tight, and this is less we’ll have to spend.&uot;

Roughly 30,000 pounds of food had been brought by a Blessing truck – one of the few that hasn’t been sent down to the Gulf Coast to help Hurricane Katrina victims – and 3,000 loaves of bread were donated by a Hampton ministry, said Impact president Dot Dalton.

&uot;This is to bless the city and the needy,&uot; said Dalton, handing out sodas to the crowd. Bags contained such dry foods as bread, cereal, chocolate, potato chips and candy.

&uot;This was very special for me,&uot; said Blessing representative Carol Lee. &uot;This is my first time (at the Suffolk event) and I think this is just an awesome thing to be a part of.&uot;

The &uot;consumers&uot; felt the same way.

&uot;It’s a blessing!&uot; said Rochelle Hill, who’d come to get some food for her granddaughter. &uot;The cupboard in my house is bare, but I know Jesus, and He said, ‘Ask and you shall receive!’&uot;

&uot;I really need some bread,&uot; said Nicole Churchill, 18. &uot;I lost my job, and I can’t afford it right now. My family goes through bread and milk fast, and my mom loves chocolate. This is going to help us a lot.&uot;