Food Takes a Bite Out of Crime in a Depressed Community

By Michael Binger *

Hunger has many side-effects in a community, including loss of hope, depression, desperation, and crime. In working with local feeding agencies, the Society of St. Andrew seeks to address all these concerns.

Potato Drop at Genesis Baptist Church n East Greensboro

Potato Drop at Genesis Baptist Church in East Greensboro, just before Christmas

East Greensboro, North Carolina is a community where more than one-fourth of the households experience hunger sometime during the year. The week before Christmas, a potato distributor donated several truckloads of white and russet potatoes – as long as they could be distributed before the holiday. SoSA reached out to Pastor Calvin Foster, Jr. of Genesis Baptist Church in East Greensboro, and to Louise Rucker, who runs the George Rucker Sr. Food Drive Ministry. They quickly arranged a potato drop to help feed their neighbors.

The morning of the food distribution, Pastor Foster said: “It’s ironic that we had a (police and community) meeting here last night that was about not-so-positive things going on in the community … then to be able to be here again this morning talking about what is positive here in the community.”

In the previous 2 months, more than 140 crimes had been committed within a mile of the church. Foster and Rucker see feeding their neighbors as part of crime prevention, “If we can get food to families, I think that will lessen some of the crime because people will have food on the table.” Foster added, “We may be in a specific zip code, but despite that zip code, the community has to know that they still have value.”

At SoSA, we believe all people have intrinsic value and are worthy of the security of knowing where their next meal is coming from. These potatoes, as with all the food we share, offer hope and security to people in need. And along the way, it also works to make the communities receiving it better and safer places.

* Michael Binger is the Regional Director of our North Carolina office.


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In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

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How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

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