Friday, December 9, 2011

Rotary and Masons team up to feed those in need

PETERSBURG - Organizers were expecting about 300 people to come to this year's Feed the Hungry event.

While there were fears that fewer people would show up due to a change in venue, those who did come were grateful for a hot meal and the generous nature of two community organizations coming together.

"It's good," said William Lyons. The meal - ham provided by Boars Head provisions and sides prepared by Picadilly restaurant - was served by volunteers, including students from the Petersburg City Public Schools.

Lyons said that he's currently "on the streets and scramblin'." The chance to have a hot, filling meal is something he was happy to accept.

Xavier Dotson said that he had just gotten off work, but that with money tight, a meal provided was something he couldn't say no to.

"Usually we held this at Quinn Hall," said Dr. Willis Madden, a member of the Petersburg Breakfast Rotary, the organization that puts together the event. However, Quinn Hall, the fellowship hall for St. Joseph Parish, burned to the ground in a March 15 fire. That left the Breakfast Rotary club looking for another building to host the event.

Thursday night's event was held at the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge at the corner of Halifax Street and Virginia Avenue.

"This is the first time the Rotary and the Masons have gotten together for this event and at this facility," said Larry Moody, district deputy grand master, of the 12th Masonic district. "We couldn't say no. One of our missions is to help the community."

Breakfast Rotary Club President Cleveland Wright said that the event was only possible through the generosity of a lot of people.

Wright said that includes volunteers from the school system, the YMCA and the Petersburg Department of Recreation and Leisure Services. Additionally, financial donations were provided from various donors, including the Dunlop House.

But serving the food is just part of the event. Wright said that preparing the food and the venue are an all-day process.

James Johnson summed up the feelings of those who received a meal though in three words: "We appreciate it."

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