Deputies distribute food in Princeville


Staff Writer

Thursday, September 7, 2017

 Despite heavy rainfall on Wednesday, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office stepped up to help give food to the less fortunate in Princeville.

Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson, who was drenched from the rain, said more than 245 people received 10,000 pounds of food such as vegetables, fruits, potatoes, bread and water during a community food distribution event at the parking lot of the closed down Princeville Town Hall. The event was sponsored by the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with Zaxby’s and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Atkinson said that he and Lisa Greene, marketing director for area Zaxby’s restaurants, made the decision to push the time of the food giveaway up from it’s original starting time because of the many older people standing in line waiting to get the boxes of food.

“We made the decision to go early because we had over 100 people lined up, and many of them were seniors,” Atkinson said. “We didn’t want to have them standing in line too long with the way it started raining.”

Atkinson said this was the first time the agency has sponsored a community food distribution event, and plans are to have them every three months with Zaxby’s and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at other locations around Edgecombe County. Princeville was chosen as the first location based on the tough times people have endured in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Atkinson added.

Atkinson said community engagement by the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office is important in building relationships with the people of the area.

“The purpose of this community food giveaway is to show love to our community,” Atkinson said. “In law enforcement, it’s vital that we show the community that we’re more than just locking people up. We want the community to see our faces before there is a negative situation and even when there is a positive encounter such as this event.” 

Atkinson said he appreciated the deputies who got soaked while helping load boxes of food into people’s vehicles.

“Our guys even through the downpours never complained or said anything negative,” Atkinson said. “When you can see your guys giving back, even when it’s pouring down rain, it really shows how much I’ve got a great group of guys — and no one can tell me anything different.”