By William Holloman
The nationally and state-acclaimed Make A Difference Food Pantry has relocated from Grantham to Mount Olive and will open its doors on Thursday of this week.
Founder and operator, 13-year-old Mackenzie Hinson, said the new pantry will be open on the second, third, and fourth Thursday of each month from 5 until 6:30 p.m.
The new location is on the west side of the 100 block of North Center Street, in the two buildings beside the NC Department of Motor Vehicles office. Both buildings have been undergoing extensive revamping during the past week to accommodate the pantry operation. Ms. Hinson said all the rooms in the pantry portion of the operation have been painted in a color code to indicate contents: meats, produce, bread and desserts. That particular building will also feature a kids’ room, complete with a library.
Registration will take place in the building beside the DMV office, and that building will also feature a soup kitchen that will begin operating in December.
Ms. Hinson is also seeking volunteers to assist with the widely-known food assistance program. Upcoming events, she said, will be posted on the Make A Difference Food Pantry Facebook Page and at madpantry.org.
CNN News will be in Mount Olive on November 14-16 to do a documentary on Ms. Hinson because she was chosen by the news network as a CNN World Hero. She and her family will be flown to New York in December to accept the award. The documentary will also air in December.
She was also selected last summer as the North Carolina Spokeskid for Volunteerism by Governor Roy Cooper.
Since opening the pantry in Grantham in April of 2015, the pantry has served over 82,187 people, distributed more than 280,000 pounds of food, and served over 8,000 families in Wayne, Johnson, and Sampson Counties. It was responsible for cooking and serving 6,913 hot meals and its kitchen remained open for 43 consecutive days during the Hurricane Matthew recovery.
It also features a Kids Mobile Café program, a program for senior citizens, and a program for the homeless.
Currently, there are eight outreach pantries under her direction that are scattered across Wayne, Johnston and Sampson Counties.
Ms. Hinson, her mother Page, and a host of volunteers will operate the new location.