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Donations support food program
WOODBINE -- The pantry at Woodbine United Methodist Church is well-stocked following a donation by the Salvation Army and a successful food drive by the U.S. Postal Service.

It's a welcome occurrence to the Rev. Tom Dent, who is grateful for the donations of canned meats, vegetables and dry goods. He says it will enable the congregation to continue to provide groceries twice a week to residents in need.

"It's like bananas," he said. "Food seems to come to us in bunches."

The church gives bags of groceries to residents from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. When they arrive at the church, they fill out a form about the number of people in the households and their ages.

Dent says the purpose is to tailor groceries to meet the needs of a family. For example, if a family has children, an extra box or two of breakfast cereal might go in the bag. If a household has an infant, baby food will be included.

Information about recipients is not shared outside the food program, he said.

"We try to make the bags specific to the residents," Dent said. "In general, we try to keep the bags consistent."

Dent says the program was already established before he accepted the pastor's position at the church about a year ago. "We are fortunate we have a congregation that is mission-minded, and they want to impact our community," he said. "They've done a great job. I can take no credit for the program."

Dent said recipients of the food express gratitude when they get a bag of groceries. People are eligible to visit to the church once a month for food.

Dent says he realizes the food won't feed a family for a month, but it makes life a little easier for the growing number of households struggling financially.

"There are some people you absolutely know you are being used by God to provide them food at a time when they are desperate," he said. "There is a lot of need in Camden County. I see a constant demand."

Although the church conducts drives throughout the year, people who want to support the program can stop by the church anytime to donate food or cash. Dent said.

"We'd love to be able to serve more people, but we're a small church, so our resources are limited. It's wonderful this church has a heart for its community."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

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