VAIL STEWART RUMLEY | DAILY NEWS THE LINE STARTS HERE: Area residents lined up for turkeys, hams, collards and sweet potatoes Friday morning for Dream Providers’ food donation to the public. This represents the fifth Christmas season the counseling service has given food away to those in need.
VAIL STEWART RUMLEY | DAILY NEWS
THE LINE STARTS HERE: Area residents lined up for turkeys, hams, collards and sweet potatoes Friday morning for Dream Providers’ food donation to the public. This represents the fifth Christmas season the counseling service has given food away to those in need.

Archived Story

The giving season: Dream Providers food giveaway draws crowd

Published 7:36pm Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas is a giving time of year, but for employees of one local business, giving takes on a whole new meaning as they donate their Christmas bonuses to feed the needy.

Friday, Washington’s downtown waterfront district was filled with many such people, seeking the fixings for Christmas dinner: ham, turkey, collards and sweet potatoes. They found them courtesy of Dream Providers’ employees — those whose daily job is to help people find the help they need through assessment, counseling, education and access to support services.

Every Christmas for the past five years, they’ve given away a mountain of food. Some of it’s purchased at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart; some from local farmers like Sammy Whitehurst in Pitt County and Wilkins and Sons in Plymouth. Last year, Dream Providers served about 1,000 people. This year, organizers are upping the ante.

“We’re doing 1,200 this year,” said Latravia Spruill, administrative assistant with Dream Providers. “We increase each year.”

IN THE SPIRIT: Francina Lessy (foreground) and Doris Moore load up plastic bags with sweet potatoes at Dream Providers’ Christmas food donation.
IN THE SPIRIT: Francina Lessy (foreground) and Doris Moore load up plastic bags with sweet potatoes at Dream Providers’ Christmas food donation.

Employees were on the scene at 6 a.m., preparing for the deluge of folks. Dressed in red Santa hats, Dream Providers’ employees handed out box after box of food. Washington Police officers were on hand to make sure the food giveaway ran smoothly.

Food wasn’t all they were giving away. Those in need of a little warmth to ward off winter’s chill had many coats to choose from. According to Spruill, someone in the community — someone who prefers to remain anonymous — donates the coats to Dream Providers’ giveaway.

The cheer spreads outward from Beaufort County as the main office on the waterfront sends supplies to other offices in Martin, Chowan and Washington counties. Employees from those offices took the day to help out in Washington, as well.

According to Spruill, the employees’ generosity in funding the food giveaway is has a simple explanation: it’s all about Christmas.

“It’s the season to be giving,” Spruill said.

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