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Pilot Outreach delivers Thanksgiving cheer

Volunteers arrived at the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center early last Thursday morning, preparing for the annual Thanksgiving-In-A-Bag project. The extra preparation time was needed as the continuing COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to get creative with food distribution.

By the 9 a.m. scheduled start time, 75 cars were lined up roadside leading to the center’s location at 407 East Highway 52 Bypass. Four cars at a time were guided through a drive-through route in the center parking lot where they were loaded with a traditional holiday meal, including hams, bread, an assortment of side items and an accompanying dessert.

More than 20 volunteers were on hand to make sure that all items were bagged and ready for preparation by the recipient families. Food donations had been received primarily from area churches.

Each family also received a box of food from the “Food Lion Feeds” meal program. Food Lion regularly donates food, including produce, to the center throughout the year.

Recipients had been asked to register beforehand and some bags had been distributed earlier in the week. In all, 147 clients and their families received food during the project with some, depending on family size, receiving multiple bags.

Pilot Mountain Outreach Center Director Jimmy Caparolie voiced his appreciation to all who played a role in the day.

“We want to thank our volunteers, those who made this possible and those who help keep the center going throughout the year,” he said. “They’ve hung in there through this virus and so far we’ve been blessed with no sickness.”

“And Food Lion has meant so much to us. Not just on Thanksgiving or at Christmas, but they’re a big part of what we do throughout the year. Their generosity makes a big difference in what we are able to do and we’re grateful for that.”

Caparolie also voiced appreciation to Second Harvest Food Bank for being a partner and for helping to make it possible for the center to access state and federal foods.

“Everything seemed to go quickly and smoothly,“ noted project primary organizer Karen Caparolie. “No one had to leave their cars and the drive-through seemed to help keep people spaced out. I think we may be doing it this way again.”

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