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Dinner to help out food pantry

CHESAPEAKE — It’s been almost three years since Charles Bell started a one-day a week food pantry out of the offices of the church where he worships, Chesapeake Church of the Nazarene. He has watched many come in needing food because they are feeling the pinch of the economy.

Now Bell and his Compassion Ministry’s pantry need a helping hand like those he has given to so many and he is hoping the community will answer.

“This year I got no grants because the government cut that back,” Bell said. “I applied in January and February and they said there were no funds available.”

So Bell is organizing an Easter dinner Saturday, April 16 to help raise funds for the pantry.

“All the money will go to the food pantry,” he said.

When the pantry opened, it served about 40 families. In March it served almost 600 people.

“Last year we did 2,055 more people,” Bell said. “This year it looks like we are going to hit 6,000.”

Throughout his ministry, Bell has found the people in the community receptive and willing to help.

“It is amazing how God has blessed us,” he said. “We have a lot of people who have done food drives for us. We had a freezer donated and a refrigerator. Now we have fresh meat, which was a blessing. I have been wanting to do that for quite a while. I tell you God is amazing. A few weeks ago we had steaks, pork chops, sausage. We have had chicken and even had some turkey.”

All of the food Bell gives away he purchases from area food banks that help out pantries.

“We work strictly on donations,” he said. “We raise most of our money from fundraisers and this dinner is going to be one of our new ones.”

The menu for the dinner will be baked ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and a variety of desserts.

Cost for children up to age 7 is free; up to 10 years $3 and everybody else is $5. The dinner will be at the fellowship hall in the back of the Chesapeake Church of the Nazarene from 3 to 6 p.m. Reservations are not required.