Hurlock church feeds area’s hungry families

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Charles Cephas
While some volunteers moved boxes of chicken to a lift, others directed cars lining the street to pull up.

HURLOCK — Cars lined a street in Hurlock on April 25, as drivers waited for a turn to receive chicken donated by Perdue Farms and distributed by members of the Greater Full Gospel Church Of God In Christ Jesus, Inc. The event was in response to recent heightened need created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many Delmarvans have found themselves without work as companies in Maryland and Delaware have shut their doors following orders from state leaders trying to slow the spread of the virus. With many people already living paycheck-to-paycheck, that has meant hardship for many, and hunger for some.

The giveaway on April 25 was not the only time the church has reached out to the less fortunate. “For three weeks, we have given chicken away,” said Bishop Charles Cephas, who is also a Hurlock Town Council member.
In those three events, he said 50,000 pounds of chicken were distributed. So many came — not only from Dorchester, but also the surrounding region, including Seaford and Milford in Delaware — that police had to direct traffic.

Recipients stayed in their cars, as they took turns pulling up to the Perdue tractor-trailer, where volunteers unloaded cases of frozen poultry. Bishop Cephas said Mountaire Farms has also donated chicken to the project.
He said hunger in the area is greater than some people realize. “Children go to bed that way,” Bishop Cephas said.
As a town council member, he said there are immigrants in his district who have been hit hard by the situation. Some don’t speak English, and are having trouble staying informed.

Others are employees in poultry plants, and have been afraid that if they don’t keep going to work, they will lose their jobs. Recent outbreaks in the area have occurred in the plants.
“We’re working to educate them,” he said. “They are really having a hard time.” He added that the county Health Department is reaching out the workers, as well.
Also affected by the pandemic are the elderly and the homeless. Because sometimes frail persons cannot leave their homes easily, they become isolated and require home visits for deliveries and health checks.
Bishop Cephas said volunteers from his church go to these homes, wearing hazmat suits, to bring needed items. “We are trying to fill in the gaps,” he said. “They were very grateful.”

Those with no address have that much more trouble accessing help. “There were some guys under Cambridge bridge,” Bishop Cephas said. His volunteers are working to provide gift cards to fast-food restaurants, so those men can get something to eat.
But even that isn’t always enough. The fast-food places now operate only from drive-throughs, and will not serve a customer who arrives on foot.
“We’re not asking for donations,” Bishop Cephas said. “We’re not asking for anything, only asking for everyone to pitch in.”

He sent his thanks to Perdue, Mountaire and the Salisbury Lions Club. The Lions donated 400 cases of eggs, which were passed out in one day.
Another way to get food to the hungry is to have farmers pledge not to plow under produce unharvested. A great deal of potatoes, for instance, are left in fields.
Bishop Cephas said his volunteers would go to a farm to glean whatever is left, and then distribute that to the needy.

He has also sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, asking him to consider continuing the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Bishop Cephas would also like to see the police receive hazard pay in the current situation.
“We have a long way to go,” he said. “We will fulfill our mission to God.”