Donations to their organization were down significantly in April, according to Shepherd’s Table Director Brandon Oates.
“With the crisis, we assume people were either not able to give, or were holding on because they didn’t know what was going to happen with the pandemic going on,” Oates said.
Then he got the call that Bank of America wanted to donate $20,000.
“We were definitely greatly appreciative,” he said. “We were a little concerned, we had been conserving our food, and at that time our numbers had dramatically increased.”
The Shepherd’s Table is a non-profit organization on Gamecock Avenue in Conway, opened in 2008, that serves lunch and dinner each weekday to those in need, at no cost.
The organization’s board chairman Tony Zack said the donation couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The Shepherd’s Table is honored that Robin Agnew and her team at Bank of America continually contribute and donate to our organization,” Zack said. “We have seen our client numbers grow every time we face a crisis, and Bank of America has stepped up again to give our community the support it needs. This donation has helped The Shepherd’s Table navigate through a tough time … We are very blessed to have such strong community advocates when we have a need. The Lord always provides for us, and this is another awesome reminder.”
Oates said that their usual numbers hover between 80 and 100 people fed each day, and at the time the donation came in, they were seeing at least 150 people daily.
They were still receiving their usual donations from grocery stores of breads and produce, but were not receiving the meat supply they usually would.
“We went back to soup and sandwiches for lunch like the old days,” Oates said. “We saved the meats for dinner…we couldn’t offer seconds.”
He said when the stimulus checks from the federal government came out, his numbers dropped a bit, but currently they are back to their usual numbers.
They do a Fresh Express produce giveaway day once a month, and usually would see just under 150 people for each of those.
Last month they saw 290 come through the drive-through line.
Oates says that since most of their volunteers are in the higher-risk senior age group, they are down to a skeleton crew of himself, Assistant Director LaKeya Davis, and three volunteers doing it all – from serving food through their front door, usual daily tasks, and extra cleaning.
As for protective equipment, after the floods of recent years, they had extra gloves and masks in storage.
“When the natural disasters were over, no one wanted them, so we kept them,” Oates said, saying they ended up coming in handy.
Last spring, the organization held a Gospel Brunch fundraiser, but was unable to hold such an event this season. Oates said they are discussing a possible fundraiser later this year.
The Shepherd’s Table’s mission is to share God’s love, one meal at a time.