BLADENBORO — As the storm waters receded in Bladenboro, a flood of people inundated the small town, thousands drawn to the small town by the offering of free, hot meals.
Dove’s BBQ owner Terry Dove runs the non-profit Harvest Table, a Columbus County food bank and feeding ministry. When two Whiteville Food Lions were required to throw out all of their meat following a power outage from Hurricane Florence, they contacted Dove about using the groceries.
“A big part of this is Sheriff McVicker — he sent deputies down there to pick up all this food,” Dove stated while busily adding water or spice to one of the three industrial grills he was manning.
Outside of Dove’s BBQ in Bladenboro, Dove and a team of helpers were cooking the meat donated to the ministry by Food Lion. Offerings included hamburgers, turkey burgers, bratwurst, sausage dogs, ribeye steaks, and pork patties, all slow cooking on the grill by the hundreds. Everything was being offered free to anyone who stops by.
“I don’t know of anywhere else that is doing anything like this,” said Andrew Marks, a Leland resident who is staying in Bladen County. “This is great.”
Marks and his family of five had not had a hot meal since Wednesday.
“This is fantastic,” agreed Bladen County Commissioner Chairman Ray Britt. “A lot of people are struggling with meals, so ministries like this are very important.”
For Dove, who also serves as a Columbus County pastor, serving the community is a necessary part of faith.
“I’m just trying to show people the love of Jesus,” he said, in between handing out cold bottled water, flipping burgers, and coordinating the take-out window.
Dove began serving Monday evening and plans to continue cooking through the week, he said.
“He’ll keep doing this until his food runs out,” Britt remarked. “As long as people keep bringing him food, he’ll keep giving it out.”
Dove closed his restaurant and hardware business in order to help others. He said he plans to begin serving lunch around noon and will be offering food again for dinner each day.
Mark Harris, Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District of North Carolina, was expected to visit the site later in the afternoon.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.