When vacationers leave the beach, they often end up throwing away unused food. But a program that started last month called Second Helping collects unwanted food and donates it to local food pantries.
It’s peak time for vacation season at the beach. And now a new program is collecting leftover food from vacationers as they exit the Crystal Coast. Mikel Peterson has more.
Beachgoers visiting Emerald Isle now have an alternative to throwing out leftover groceries. A new program called Second Helping is collecting those supplies for the White Oak Ministries food bank. Second Helping accepts perishables and non-perishables items in fact; they even accept already opened containers. Second Helping George Gardner got the idea from a similar program successful at Holden Beach for the last eight years.
“If you live on the beach you know there is just so much stuff that is thrown out on the curb that’s usable. I just said God this is something I can do so that’s what I’m trying to do now. That’s it, we’re just trying to collect leftover food from the departing vacationers as they leave the island.”
Gardner started the planning process of becoming a community supported project last fall. Second Helping set up roadside stands and accepts food from tourist as they are passing by. Their stands in Emerald Isle are operational on Saturdays, 7am-noon, from now through Labor Day weekend.
“One is on the corner of Hwy 58 Islander Dr. that is right beside the Bert Surf Shop closest to the bridge leaving Emerald Isle ,and the second one is on the corner of Coast Guard Rd. and Reed Dr. That’s where the Emerald Isle Wine Shop and the Holiday Travel Park are, we’re in the grassy area there on the side and will be set up there you will see some umbrellas, some chairs and some coolers and we’ll there.”
The inaugural collection event, 3 weeks ago, saw a variety of donated items: a half carton of eggs, doughnuts, popsicles, canned goods and lots of bread. A week later, Second Helping started collecting dog and cat food. And now, Gardner says they’ll accept non-food items as well.
"We take paper towels, toilet paper, there are people out there in need of these things and we’re going to try to get them to them.”
Gardner says he’s been in contact with the other food pantries in Carteret County, Martha's Mission in Morehead City, Hope Mission in Morehead City, and Caroline's House in Morehead City to let them know about the Emerald Isle program.
Second Helping is also in need of volunteers to help out with collections on Saturdays. So far the program only has 8 volunteers.
"15 minutes or the full five hours, they can work anytime that they have to give. We have to do it in shifts because it gets a little warm out there this time of year. I just have been working with some people that are going to help me on Saturday and we’re going to maybe two and half hour shifts.”
Since the community supported project is getting off the ground, Gardner says they’re trying to get the word out to tourist about their mission to help feed the hungry.
“We put flyers up, we got the ads in two of the real estate or the rental company vacationers guide, I put stickers out we’re trying to reach as many people as we can.”
As for the future of Second Helping, Gardner hopes to expand the program next year to include Atlantic Beach.
“As people are leaving up there I’m hoping that this will develop into quite a few more locations. The food needed by so many people, it’s a shame just to throw these things away.”
For more information visit asecondhelping-emeraldisle.com. I’m Mikel Peterson.