WILSON, N.C. — Organizations in Wilson County are seeing larger crowds in need of hot meal this Thanksgiving.
James Roberson is rallying his congregation at Contending for the Faith Church in Wilson to cook a full Thanksgiving meal for those in need.
“It could have been me out of a job. It could have been me with no food,” Roberson said.
Roberson is expecting to feed up to 600 people and he said no one will be turned away.
“Their bellies are going to be full when they leave this church, believe me,” Roberson said.
The Opportunities Industrialization Center handed out bags of groceries on Wednesday to help those less fortunate prepare holiday meals.
OIC President Howard Jones said nearly 3,000 people got in the line which was wrapped around the building before 5 a.m.
“I saw folks come through this line today that have been working for years and now their out of work – they’re laid off,” Jones said.
Jones said OIC usually gives food to about 1,500 households. On Wednesday they had to turn about 500 families away.
“The worst part of this job - when you are doing something from the heart – is to go out and open the door and see 300 or 400 people standing there trying to get something and say, ‘I’m sorry the food is gone,’” Jones said.
Jones said he tries to focus on the positive – more than 2,000 families did get bags of groceries.
“It’s just a good feeling, but yet it’s a lonely feeling,” he said.
The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina reports a 20 to 30 percent increase in need this year. A spokesperson said that while donations are up slightly it is not enough to keep up with the need.