Good Shepherd Center has been housing and feeding people in need for 30 years in our Cape Fear region. What started as a soup kitchen in 1983 has evolved into much more. Today they serve on average 75,000 meals a year, and their day shelter provides folks a place to shower, change clothes, make a phone call, and even have an address to retrieve mail or use on a job application. The Good Shepherd’s night shelter hosts 118 beds and four family rooms. Plus, they operate the Sgt. Eugene Ashley Center, which executes an 18-month program for veterans fighting substance abuse. The center helps find permanent supportive housing for veterans who graduate the program. Programs extend into helping with money management, job applications and interviews, planning for self-suficiency and transportation, as well as offering financial assistance.
“When we have an individual or family ready to move into permanent housing, it takes about $2,500 to put them there,” Janet Knott, associate development director, says. “This covers deposits and initial rent payments. For those we’ve assisted in transitioning into housing, especially those with chronic disabilities, we provide food boxes after they are no longer under our roof. These are delivered weekly.”
Currently, the center is housing 50 overnight guests, including nine children. “We are feeding approximately 100 individuals breakfast and 150 individuals lunch daily, though we have seen in recent history 217 for lunch,” Knott explains. “These numbers change continually.”
Aside from dedicated staff and volunteers, fundraising and donations are a major bloodline to the Good Shepherd’s ongoing outreach. On September 20th at St. James Parish, they’ll be holding a fundraiser in conjunction with Feast Down East and numerous local businesses, all to showcase “The Flavor of NC.”
Knott says the idea came from a desire to “highlight the uniqueness of our state while bringing awareness to the fact that we share this wonderful home with others who need our help in meeting their basic needs: food, shelter, and housing.” Lexington-style BBQ and all the fixin’s will be served, alongside Wrightsville Beach’s famed Robert’s Grocery chicken salad. Good Shepherd also asked three local chefs to prepare food from across three regions of the state: mountains, Piedmont and coast. Chef Robert Pickens of Kornerstone Bistro and Eagle Point Country Club will prepare shrimp and grits as a mainstay of the shoreline. Chef Matthew Gould of Canapé will make a NC smoked trout cold hors d’ouevre to represent the mid-section of the state. Chef Brent Poteat of 22 North will highlight food from the western region.
“He’s leaning toward chicken and dumplings with a twist—the addition of crab and Andouille sausage,” Knott divulges. “Doesn’t that sound interesting?”
Feast Down East works with local famers to bridge the gap and distance from food to table. Their online market allows shoppers to buy produce and other goods from local farms. More so, Feast Down East ensures the connection between local farmers and food served at hospitals, schools and restaurants. The nonprofit will help cull the ingredients for the chefs in Flavor of NC.
“We are not simply hiring [the chefs and Feast Down East] to cater,” Knott says. “Two chefs are donating their time, servers and the food, while another is donating all but the cost of the ingredients. They are all wonderful!”
Tables of eight will be set up, as will bistro tables so guests can mingle and meander through all the stations and nibble as they wish. A lemonade bar and an assortment of locally roasted coffees provided by Island Roast Coffee will be served. The event will feature local beers and wines, including Good Hops Brewing in Carolina Beach, Noni Bacca, and Silver Coast Winery. “Again, these are locals donating their product to help support our mission,” Knott adds.
Live entertainment will come from the musical stylings of Jesse Stockton, who will open the event with his brand of Americana/grass rooots. Rick Courtney, lead singer of Beachbilly Brothers, will play his own “country soul that rocks.” Two dancers will be teaching a slew of hot moves thanks to Babs McDance Social Dance Studio, and auction items will be up for grabs, too. Prizes will include NC wares, such as a bed and breakfast package, restaurant gift certificates and admissions to area attractions. “We have art, jewelry, foods and cruises also provided by NC individuals, artists and designers,” Knott says.
But the real focus will be on food and philanthropy. Help the Good Shepherd continue their mission for another 30 years by purchasing a ticket today.
Flavor of NC
St. James Parish, Lee Perry Hall
25 S. 3rd Street
Janet Knott: (910) 763-4424