PINETOPS — The social problems that have plagued the southern portion of Edgecombe County have been tugging at the heart of Ardean Eason for many years.
But just talking about those issues was not enough for Eason, the pastor of The House of Liberty Church, Inc. of Pinetops. Eason did something about it.
She and her husband, Jesse, organized the Truth Foundation Ministries, Inc. Resource Center. The operation is a food bank and clothes closet to assist people who are in need in the Pinetops-Macclesfield area. Her outreach ministry has also organized a Walk-A-Thon, set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Tarboro's Indian Lake, to raise funds to allow them to give Thanksgiving dinners to seniors and the disabled as well as purchase Christmas toys.
"I used to work in the school system and I saw that the only good meals that some of the kids received each day came from the school," Eason said. "That is sad. I also realized that there is a need to help the seniors. This is a vision that the Lord has given me and I'm carrying it out."
Eason explained that the operation is totally separated from her church. She said "it is a community outreach, not a church outreach."
Eason's vision is operating on a shoestring budget, relying on donations from individuals, including members of the organization's board, as well businesses in the county. She said she has yet to apply for grants to fund the operation but that plans have been made to do so. For now, she's relying on local help.
So for, her work has helped Truth Foundation Ministries Inc. Resource Center build a solid foundation. Donations have allowed the organization to provide hot meals to two seniors every Thursday and, on Oct. 20, blankets, pillows and clothes donations made possible it possible to hold the organization's first yard sale and giveaway. Eason was a little concerned about the giveaway.
"I really didn't know whether people had heard about us and what we were doing," Eason said. "I was worried that only a few amount of people were going to show up. But when I got here, people were already in line. We had about 35 people to come out. That was good."
Eason's vision is not just about giving away food and clothes, but extends to fight other social ills plaguing the area.
"There are some other things we are going to do that is in the making," she said. "We want people to be able to come here and get their GED, learn how to fill out resumes," she said. "We want this to be a place where, when kids get suspended, they can come here and we can assist them with their schoolwork. A lot of students who get suspended get behind. We will not be here just to help with their homework, but to serve as mentors.
"I hope to one day open a soup kitchen. You may think that people in this area don't go hungry, but they do. This is my heart — my passion to help others. I would like to do more."
Truth Foundation Ministries Inc. Resource Center is located at 104 West Burnette St. in Pinetops. Organizers are accepting monetary donations, canned goods and clothing. They are also searching for volunteers.
For more information, call Ardean Eason at 813-1255.