The Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry was founded in 1983 by members of St. Paul‘s Episcopal Church. It has grown to become an organization sponsored by 18 local contributing churches, a handful of supportive sponsors, and a multitude of dedicated donors.
Food assistance is provided to more than 300 households and 180 senior adults each month. In addition, the Book Bag Buddies program provides weekend meals to 161 children attending Edenton Chowan Public Schools and the Children’s Summer Nutrition Program serves 226 children during the months of July and August.
As primarily a volunteer organization, the Food Pantry is led by a part-time Director. Ray Wells served for many years in this capacity, overseeing expansion of the warehouse and storage facilities as well as the implementation of a computerized client data system. Following Ray’s retirement in 2016, Roger Coleman took the reins doubling the number of contributing churches and increasing the number of volunteers. In 2017 Roger led the Food Pantry’s efforts to raise $100,000 to match a $100,000 grant from Dr. John Phillips, creating an endowment for the Pantry’s future. The current Director, Joe Rizzo, assumed this role in the spring of 2019.
As a not-for-profit organization, the Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry is governed by a 27 member Board of Directors comprised of representatives from the contributing churches and the community at large. Officers include: Larry Ekberg, President; Bob Bastek, Vice President (St. Anne Catholic Church); Mildred Vanterpool, Secretary; and Keith Rollins, Treasurer (Rocky Hock Baptist Church).
By weaving together the cash and food donations received from individuals, local businesses, churches, civic organizations, grants and endowments the volunteers at the Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry work hard to create a safety net for the almost 3,000 food insecure individuals living in the community. The Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry is a member agency of the Food Bank of the Albemarle and Feeding America.