Letters to the Editor

10/23: Your letters: Peter Werbicki, West Durham Baptist Church

Help when people need it most

Every day at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a little different. We never know who will walk through our doors in need of food, education and community connections, or support with state and federal benefits.

We recently heard from Laura, a single mom whose work hours had been cut, but her SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits hadn’t yet caught up to reflect that. She and her two little girls needed help, and thankfully we connected her quickly with one of our partner pantries to get food on the table that day.

These kinds of pleas show the stressful situations neighbors like Laura would be in on a daily basis without SNAP. We do all we can at the Food Bank to distribute healthy, fresh, food through our network of partners to the nearly 630,000 people facing hunger in our 34-county service area. SNAP helps meet the need among working families and individuals, and seniors in our community in a way we cannot alone. The truth is, despite the fact that we distributed 70 million pounds of food to central and eastern North Carolina last year, the federal SNAP program provides 10 times more food than food banks can.

SNAP works by providing a helping hand with groceries when people need it most, and the average new household stays on SNAP for less than a year. SNAP helps families get through temporary tough times without falling so far behind they cannot recover. The program helps to lift people out of poverty, freeing up household income for things like continuing education, or transportation to get to better paying jobs.

SNAP was smartly designed in bi-partisan fashion, to expand in times of economic hardship, and reduce in cost and size when Americans are doing well. The program itself has changed and adapted over the years, as has the face of hunger and the way communities work to end it. But the importance of SNAP remains the same. We cannot ensure no one goes hungry without protecting the vital benefits SNAP provides to North Carolinians.

Peter Werbicki

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina

Church milestone

Historic West Durham Baptist Church has been a beacon to the city of Durham since 1892. Over a century and a quarter, the church has been guided by 13 pastors, and has endured the destruction of its earlier Brookstown home to be relocated at its current Athens Avenue location. The congregation is happy to announce we will be celebrating our 125th anniversary this month.

Our pastor, The Rev. Dr. LaMont J. Johnson Sr., will preach the anniversary sermon at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the church, at 1901 Athens Ave. The theme of the anniversary celebration is “Fortified by the Past, Focused on the Future.”

Pastor Johnson, who has led the West Durham Baptist congregation since January has encouraged the church to learn from and reinforce its rich history. “Even though my tenure as pastor at West Durham Baptist Church has been relatively short, I have been greatly impressed with the outstanding spiritual leadership that our church has provided for the Durham community over the years,” he says.

After the homecoming service, the church congregation will have a formal anniversary luncheon at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel. State Representative H. M. “Mickey” Michaux will be the keynote speaker for the luncheon. Rep. Michaux’s tenure in the legislature and his knowledge of the history of Durham has allowed him to have followed much of the West Durham Baptist Church legacy.

“Our church is one of the spiritual and historic pillars for the city of Durham,” says Pastor Johnson. “We extend an invitation to the people of the Durham area to worship with us on our 125th anniversary and to join us on other occasions in the future.”

The Communications Ministry

West Durham Baptist Church


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