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Ministry leader receives honor

Lorna Slaughter has made it her mission to make sure city residents have enough food to eat.

From forging partnerships to leveraging resources, Slaughter, co-founder and chief operating officer for Suffolk Christian Fellowship Ministry and Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center, continues her outreach downtown while extending her ministry’s reach to underserved rural areas.

That effort, in particular, has picked up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Her ministry has held food drives in five rural locations in the city, serving more than 420 households, and she has another one scheduled in September across the North Carolina border in Gates County.

She has also received assistance from the Obici Healthcare Foundation and continues to work with Operation Blessing out of Virginia Beach.

During the summer, Slaughter and her ministry have been able to raise enough money to buy a larger box truck. And recently, she was honored as a Brawny Giant, receiving $2,500 and 900 rolls of its paper towels.

“We’re honored to be selected out of all the nominees,” Slaughter said.

The partnership with Brawny will allow Slaughter to enhance the center’s care packages. Besides food, the packages will include other supplies that seniors need, along with brochures and educational items provided by other partnering organizations.

A volunteer who is a member of the ministry’s church saw a commercial for the Brawny program and began, unbeknownst to Slaughter, putting together a submission package. Slaughter found out later in the process, though before she was selected, that she had been nominated. A week after a phone interview with Brawny’s public relations firm, Slaughter received word that she had been selected as a Brawny Giant.

The company began the program to recognize and support people who go out of their way to help others, or have risen to the occasion during times of crisis.

“We’re going to be blessed to be able to use the funding to just continue to further what we’re already doing,” Slaughter said. “It will help us with mobile distribution. It will help us with daily distribution, to purchase food, to purchase goods, to purchase supplies to continue to keep in mind the guidelines of the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), to keep not only our volunteers, but our participants, safe.”

Having the larger box truck will also allow Slaughter and her ministry to do more.

“We can now go and actually pick up the larger donations and bring them back,” Slaughter said, “and that expands our ability to reach out even further in the rural community, but it also gives us an opportunity to be able to increase the amount of goods that we are distributing out in our pantry and to the rural community.

“So we’re excited. We’re looking forward to doing an even greater work.”