Food Pantry has first summer shortage
Hatteras Island Food Pantry, a non-profit, completely volunteer-staffed
organization that serves numerous Islanders and their families, is
having its first annual summer food drive.
The food pantry, which was started when the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge
was knocked out in 1990, is very active in the winter, when many local
businesses are closed and many residents are out of work. But
the summer, it’s normally a different story. It’s the height of the
tourist season, when businesses are staffed to the hilt and nearly
everyone has at least one job.
This summer, however, the food pantry, which is located at the Buxton
United Methodist Church, is experiencing an unprecedented demand for
food—a demand with which the donations have scarcely been able to keep
Full-time volunteers Ray and Claire Schaaft explained that, while
things have slowed down a little after an extremely busy fall and
winter—when they received at least one phone call a day—the food pantry
is busier than it’s ever been in the summer.
“We’ve had people in here that we’ve never seen before,” Claire said of
the increase in traffic.
Though the Schaafts said they didn’t know why it’s happening—whether it
is increased demand, fewer donations, or both—the food pantry
shelves were all but empty last week.
“These shelves used to be full of food,” Claire explained as she
pointed to a nearly empty storage closet that used to be stuffed with
boxes of food items.
Even the shelves in the main part of the food pantry are not fully
stocked, and according to the Schaafts, nearly all of what’s there came
from Dare Days—a festival held on Roanoke Island each summer for which
entry is free with a donation to the county’s food pantries—and a big
purchase that the pantry recently made from Conner’s Supermarket in
Food pantry director Walton Fulcher said that while traffic has
increased, last month’s numbers aren’t that much higher than they were
last year at this time. Fulcher says he believes part of the problem is
that donations dropped off after the holiday season and haven’t picked
back up yet.
The importance of those donations cannot be overstated.
the month of May, 99 island families relied on the food pantry, which
served a total of 278 islanders.
And what’s in the pantry now certainly won’t last all summer.
In fact, according to Claire, “If it lasts three weeks, it will be a
Of course, this is Hatteras Island, which means that the community is
always there to help.
As soon as she heard about the urgent need for food items, Frisco
resident Linda Browning immediately began organizing the island’s first
annual summer food drive.
“A couple days ago I got a call from Walton Fulcher saying that the
food pantry was out of almost everything and asking if I could do
something. I was shocked because the food pantry has never
a food drive this time of year,” Browning said in an e-mail.
Within days of Fulcher’s call, Browning had spread the word via
Facebook and e-mail of the pantry’s urgent need for food and monetary
donations and had worked to secure several drop-off locations up and
down the Island where donors could take their goods.
The items most in demand are cooking oil, peanut butter, jelly,
spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, grated cheese, pancake mix, pancake syrup,
cereal, non-fat dry milk, sugar, flour, biscuit mix, shortening, salt
and pepper, and canned meats, but any and all donations are much needed
and greatly appreciated.
“Right now, we can use anything!” Claire said.
Donations are tax-deductible, and 100 percent of all food and monetary
donated will go toward helping islanders, whether through stocking the
shelves or shoring up the relief fund.
Checks made payable to United Methodist Men can be mailed to Hatteras
Island Food Pantry, PO Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920.
foods, personal care items, and cleaning supplies can be taken to the
locations listed below.
• Hatteras Realty - Hatteras, Avon, Waves
(Mon.- Sat., 8:30-6; Sun., 10-5)
• Our Lady of the Seas Parish Hall -
Buxton (24-hr. drop-off box on porch)
• Frisco Rod & Gun - Frisco
• Surf-or-Sound Realty - Avon, Salvo
• Dancing Turtle Coffee Shop - Hatteras
• Hatteras Island Family Medicine -
Frisco (Mon.-Thurs., 8-12 noon and 1-4:30)
• Kinnakeet Civic Association Fish Fry
(Every Saturday, May 29-Sept 4 , 5-7pm at the Avon Fire Station)
For more information contact food drive organizer Linda Browning at
995-3662 or Walton Fulcher at 995-5772.