By Stefanie Jackson – The Do Drop Inn restaurant and lounge in Weirwood remains temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but its doors were wide open Saturday, Aug. 15, to volunteers who picked up COVID-19 care packages to deliver to more than 50 families in need.
Eastern Shore community members and friends pulled together to show their love and support for families who might otherwise “fall through the cracks,” said volunteer Lenora Mitchell.
Each of 10 Eastern Shore churches and communities identified five households most in need and sent volunteers to the Do Drop Inn to pick up the care packages for delivery.
Families received groceries for cooking breakfast and dinner, including eggs, pancake mix, syrup, cereal, a fresh whole chicken and chicken legs, and boxed or canned milk, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese.
Each family also received personal protective equipment including face masks and gloves, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer.
Handed out with the food and supplies were packets of information on COVID-19, the U.S. Census, and voter registration.
The chicken was donated by Perdue Farms, and the remaining food and supplies were provided by anonymous donors.
Volunteers had their temperatures checked before entering the Do Drop Inn, practiced social distancing wherever possible, and wore face masks.
Similar health measures are being taken at First Baptist Church in Cape Charles, which has reopened for Sunday worship, said its pastor, the Rev. Felton Sessoms.
His care for his congregation includes addressing community concerns like COVID-19.
“We’ve been trying to get word out to individuals to practice hand-washing and social distancing so they would be safe during this pandemic,” Sessoms said.
He’s also encouraged his congregation to register to vote and to fill out their U.S. census forms “so that they will be counted and this community will get the funds that we need to address some of our issues, especially in this rural setting.”
Lenora Mitchell emphasized the importance of reaching out to people who don’t normally get help putting food on the table or filling other needs because of pride or lack of knowledge of available resources.
She wanted those folks to know “they’re not alone, and times might appear to be hard, and we’re going to get through.”
Betty Sims-Bell, a volunteer who attends church at Shorter’s Chapel in Bridgetown, said the charitable event “means a great honor to us and our community.”
“I thank God that they think of doing these types of things,” she said of the event’s organizers.
The idea for the COVID-19 care packages originated with Jane Cabarrus, who runs the Do Drop Inn.
The business was started more than 50 years ago by her parents, the late Lloyd and Annie Giddens.
Cabarrus gives credit for the initiation and success of events like the COVID-19 care package collection to her parents, whose restaurant was more than just a business, it was a “community center,” she said.
The Saturday event was largely a family affair, with volunteers including Cabarrus’ son-in-law, George Jarrett, and his son, Levin Jarrett; and niece Deborah Griffin and two of her grandchildren, Denai and Stacyn Griffin.
Spencer Murray, former chairman of the Northampton board of supervisors, also lent a hand.
The participating churches and pastors were Ebenezer A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) Church Capeville, the Rev. Olivia Collins; First Baptist Church Capeville, the Rev. Kelvin Jones; St. Stephen’s A.M.E. Church, Cape Charles, the Rev. Lisa Little; First Baptist Church Cape Charles, the Rev. Felton Sessoms; Shorter’s Chapel A.M.E. Church, Bridgetown, the Rev. Douglas Strand; Bethel Baptist Church, Franktown, the Rev. Wilbert Adams; Ebenezer Baptist Church, Wardtown, the Rev. Milton Palmer Bunting; and New Mount Zion Baptist Church, Painter, the Rev. Charles Kellam. The Bayview community also participated.