The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

November 2, 2012

Holidays increase pressure on TCO efforts

TARBORO — Sister Mary Ann Czaja, director of the Tarboro Community Outreach, shared good news and bad news concerning her organization.

First, the good news: Six hundred and sixth eight families were recipients of goods from the food pantry.

Now, the bad news: With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the cupboard needs to be replenished.

Czaja is asking for donations of non-perishable goods to help combat hunger in Edgecombe County. The county’s high unemployment rate has slightly driven up the number of families served over the past five years.

“We are seeing more people because of unemployment and more people from the outlying regions are using our service,” she said. “Right now we are in need of everything.”

TCO also operates a daily soup kitchen that served 6,376 meals in October. And, with an ever-nearing Thanksgiving, Czaja must also turn her attention to that special day. For the third consecutive year Thanksgiving dinner will be served at the TCO site on 701 Cedar Lane. A makeshift drive-thru is scheduled to be set up to allow families to get their meals and return to their respective homes. Families can also eat at TCO if desired.

Five years ago, a collaborative community effort between the TCO and other community organizations sponsored Thanksgiving diners at Tarboro High School. The event fizzled out after the second year and TCO moved the feeding back to its Cedar Lane confines. In 2007, the collaborative efforts fed 410 people.

For more than 25 years, TCO has been one of the constants in the county to provide food and shelter for the needy.

“People in Rocky Mount consider their clients a number,” she said. “We don’t do that here. We know our clients by their names and we treat them with respect. We see this as more of a ministry than a social service agency.”

TCO also operates a 30-bed shelter for homeless men and another shelter for battered women and their children.

Czaja said there is also a demand for clothing and blankets.

To donate items to TCO, contact Czaja at 823-8801 or stop by the site at 701 Cedar Lane.

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