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Heavenly Groceries/Comida Celestial is a certified food bank and ministry of St. Joseph CME Church, dedicated to providing quality produce and grocery items to the underserved communities in and surrounding Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The organization strives to preserve individual dignity and cultural foodways by allowing visitors the option of making their own food choices. Heavenly Groceries/ Comida Celestial thrives off of a culture of compassion and community, cultivated by food’s ability to nurture the body and soul.
Heavenly Groceries/Comida Celestial began in 2002 as a ministry of St. Joseph C.M.E. Church when Reverend Troy Harrison and his wife Bernice Harrison began collecting bread from the Entenmann’s factory and distributing it to members of the church. Today, Heavenly Groceries reclaims food from three groceries stores and serves an estimated 5,000 individuals a month from at least five different counties. The food bank is open five days a week for distribution. In recent months, the food bank has had to discontinue weekend pickups due to limited numbers of volunteers. This work is completed with the collaboration of local church members, UNC-Chapel Hill students, and other individuals from the community who sort, clean, and distribute all food. Groceries are provided for every person that arrives at our doors, there are neither restrictions nor requirements necessary to be given food. We are one of the only North Carolina certified food banks that allows patrons to select their own food, which provides each person the opportunity to choose food he or she will enjoy and that adheres to particular food traditions. This model is meant to honor individuals’ preferences and dignity during the act of receiving food from a food bank.Heavenly Groceries/Comida Celestial was created in response to a growing prevalence of food scarcity within the community and limited access to fresh produce for people experiencing homelessness, unemployment, or fixed and limited incomes. However, everyone is granted access to the food pantry. There are no requirements, nor restrictions regarding who can receive food. This program exists to address the growing need for fresh grocery items for the immediate community of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, as well as the food needs of several surrounding counties. Heavenly Groceries plans to continue its work providing fresh produce and grocery items for the underserved communities in and surrounding the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area.
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