ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen Crisis Assistance will be celebrating 10 years of service to the community on Friday, March 7, at 6:30 p.m. at Elizabethtown Baptist Church Christian Activities Center.
The festivities will include a dinner and silent auction. Tickets cost $25 each and can be purchased at Elizabethtown Baptist Church office, Bladen Crisis Assistance office, or the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church office.
The Rev. Chris Denny of the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church said his church has made a challenge donation of $10,000 to mark the occasion.
“Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church will match dollar for dollar the funds raised at the upcoming BCA celebration dinner and silent auction up to $10,000,” said Denny.
In a written release, Denny said, “We are grateful for the ministry, compassion and help that Bladen Crisis has given to so many over the past 10 years. Due to the generosity of our members past and present, we have the opportunity to make an even bigger difference in the lives of families in Bladen County. We are seeking to demonstrate God’s love sharing the compassion of Christ with any who are in need.”
Kathy Page, director of the Bladen Crisis Assistance Food Bank, said that over that period of time the Food Bank has given out more than 1.2 million pounds of food — or about 58,542 bags of food.
Bladen Crisis Assistance was conceived over 10 years ago and began modestly in June 2003, said Page.
“David Clark let us use a building on Martin Luther King Drive at a very reasonable rate. We opened the food pantry there and it was me and two ladies from AME Zion,” said Page.
Shortly afterwards, the thrift store was opened in November. After a couple of years, Page said the Food Bank moved to its current location. Page said through working with he county, they were able to obtain the assistance of a social worker and added the financial assistance piece to Bladen Crisis.
Page said the churches have been very involved and supportive of the program’s efforts as has the community in making Bladen Crisis Assistance a success.
“I never realized it would evolve and become as large as it has,” said Page.
She said through her time volunteering there, she has learned a great deal about the county.
“My eyes have really been opened to the needs in our county. I didn’t realize how many people Bladen Crisis can reach,” said Page.
She added there are folks throughout Bladen County that are experiencing difficult times. For example, she noted that last week two people came into the Crisis Assistance Food Bank and had no housing and had just lost their jobs. Page said they were taken in by friends.
Page cited another example where a young man came in who had made some poor choices in his life. He, too, had lost his job and was staying with friends and also had custody of his young child.
She added that the Crisis Assistance reaches out to the whole county not just Elizabethtown. They serve clients form Kelly, East Arcadia, Clarkton, Bladenboro and Elizabethtown.