Lee is a soft-spoken man with a great taste in hats, and an even greater sense of purpose when it comes to caring for his community. He and his wife are in charge of the food pantry at William’s Grove Baptist Church in southeast Raleigh. Twice a week they come to the Food Bank’s Raleigh Branch to select fresh produce, meats, and other kitchen staples that feed and nourish 50 families.

“I would hate to think that they would be there hungry without us,” he says. “The cost of food has gone up. In the neighborhood that we’re in, there would be a lot of hungry people. A little old lady heard about our food pantry. She came and we gave her seven bags, it might have been more. She was crying. I thought she had hurt herself. She was saying, ‘I had one can of food and I wouldn’t get my check for three weeks.’ She just broke down and started crying again.”

Lee, of Williams Grove Baptist Church in Raleigh

Selfless in service

“There are a lot of tales, not that drastic perhaps, but just as meaningful. When we hear these things, it encourages us. We have to be here. They depend on us. We have dedicated ourselves to being open when we’re supposed to be open. Because if it’s raining or snowing and one person comes, it was worthwhile. We’re going to be there and they know we’ll be there.”

Thanks to the pantry’s partnership with the Food Bank, what Lee provides is just as plentiful and reliable as when.

“There are fresh vegetables. When we give it to them, they just smile. And they thank us, saying ‘Do you know how much cabbages cost now?’ or potatoes or whatever we give them. We’re just glad to have it to give. We know that they will eat better than they did last night.”

But as with any Hunger Hero, perhaps the why is most important of all.

“We do it because we’re able to and we want to – which is just as important. I have a bad back and I’m retired. I have to wear a back brace when I come. I take physical therapy. But I risk my back to do this because it means that much to me, and it means just as much to my wife. I honestly feel like we’re making a difference. If you can help someone, why wouldn’t you want to? I want to.”

You can be a hunger  hero, too

Right now, one in five people in central and eastern North Carolina don’t have enough to eat. Your tax-deductible gift will help provide food and hope to families, children, and seniors right here in our community. Together, we can help people in their greatest time of need.