The Robesonian: Nonprofit, Piggly Wiggly in St. Pauls team up to help feed Robeson County residents

LUMBERTON — A nonprofit based in Burgaw gave away more than 100 boxes of food to county residents Tuesday morning.

Cars lined up about 8:15 a.m. at the Robeson County Department of Public Health to receive food of which included items such as spiral hams, collards, fruit, flour, green beans and cake slices, from Mt. Calvary Center for Leadership Development and Piggly Wiggly in St. Pauls.

The food giveaway was part of the nonprofit’s program to serve people who have been affected by COVID-19, said Community Health worker Gena Oxendine, who works for the nonprofit.

A total of 109 boxes were distributed during the event.

“It’s a blessing to be able to serve the community,” said Oxendine, a Robeson County native, who also serves as an assistant pastor at Genesis Outreach Deliverance Center in Lumberton.

Lumberton resident Melody McKeithan was one of the people in line Tuesday at the Health Department, located on Country Club Road in Lumberton.

McKeithan said receiving the food meant a lot to her and her family.

“It means helping me out with groceries since COVID,” she said.

Her son recently came home from college, meaning there are five people in her household to provide for, McKeithan said. Receiving the boxes helped her better provide for them.

Lumberton resident Tiffany Brown said she was thankful for the initiative that helped her and others.

“It’ll help me with my family,” Brown said. “I feel grateful about it.”

David Drose, a supervisor at Piggly Wiggly in St. Pauls, delivered the boxes to the location with the help of his two sons, who also helped pack boxes into vehicles on Tuesday.

“It’s a good thing,” Drose said. “We’re glad to work with them.”

Community Health worker Vanessa Logan donned an orange reflective vest and directed traffic in the Health Department’s parking lot.

“It feels so good to be able to give back to the community and help families because during this pandemic people are really struggling,” she said.

Community Health worker Shenetta Barnes McMillian and her husband, Jimmy McMillian, loaded food boxes into vehicles. Shenetta McMillian said she was thankful to serve people affected by COVID-19, saying many people are out of work because of the virus.

“It’s good to help the community,” she said.

Giveaways in Hoke and Scotland counties also took place Tuesday, Oxendine said.

The nonprofit organization serves Robeson, Scotland, Hoke, Columbus, Bladen, Sampson, Duplin and Pender counties, with an average of 100 boxes distributed per county in various food giveaway events that ended Tuesday, Oxendine said.

“So, we’re feeding 800 families,” Oxendine said.

Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email at

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