Christmas ‘angel’ takes a break from collecting food
Last winter, Pam Wilson of Waynesville decided to collect food donations to help feed hungry families in Haywood County. It was a decision that ended up filling up her heart and all the space in her home.
Since last October, Wilson has collected a total of 14,000 items, which were either auctioned off through a Facebook group called “Bid with Food to Stamp Out Hunger” or donated to families in need. Now, after months of collecting about 700 food items per week and receiving about 50 auction items per week, Wilson is ready to take a break.
“It has been very crazy,” Wilson said. “I was trying to take a break at Christmas time for two weeks and people kept asking me if I had anything. My record week was right after Christmas when I collected 1,733 items. … It’s a very full-time job. I worked from the time I got off my job until the time I couldn’t keep my eyes open every day.”
Wilson, a waitress at Clyde's Restaurant, has stopped posting items to the Facebook page, but Wilson’s friend Katrina Rogers has kept the Facebook page up and running. But this time of year, not as many people are making donations, Wilson said.
“In the fall, there’s a lot of need for it,” she said. “In the fall toward winter is when it’s most needed. People seem to give more donations.”
Last fall, Wilson started out with a truckload of items, and as the “Bid with Food to Stamp Out Hunger” page took off, her home became packed wall to wall with donations from people.
“So many people donated — it was unreal,” she said. “It’s been an adventure, that’s for sure. I had piles everywhere. As long as I posted (on Facebook), they donated.”
Now that Wilson hasn’t been collecting the donations and keeping them in her house, she is able to enjoy her space at home.
“I can actually see where I live,” she said with a laugh. Wilson added that she was prepared to give up her space again in the fall.
All of the food was donated to local families and food pantries. When it came to distributing the food to families, Wilson said she wasn’t very selective.
“Most of it went to people told me they needed it, and I didn’t question it,” she said.
The donated items included boxes or bags of food, canned foods, drinks, clothes and other clothing items like blankets.
“It’s a good feeling I tell you," Wilson said about helping families. "I hope to see this continue over every fall."
Wilson is always in need of volunteers who will be available to help sort and distribute the food the fall. This past winter, Wilson alone did a lot of the distribution due to lack of volunteers.
For people who want to help, Wilson said the best way to contact her is to join the Facebook group and contact her through there. Just search for "Bid with Food to Stamp out Hunger."