Carryout by Chrislyn hosting massive food-relief effort

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Chrislyn Wedderien has a rare skill: a knack for cooking for large groups of people. The owner of Carryout by Chrislyn in Washington has served herself up to do just that over the past week, feeding first responders during the height of Hurricane Florence. Now, in the storm’s recovery phase, she’s moved on to cooking food in her East Second Street kitchen and sending it off to people in places that haven’t seen a hot meal in nearly a week.

Making it possible is Wedderien’s dedication to help others, a team of volunteers and those who heard about the food relief effort and donated to the cause. So far, a total of 2,046 Carryout by Chrislyn meals have been served to those in need; 1,180 of them on Wednesday alone.

Meals have been dropped off in Belhaven in Beaufort County, towns in Pamlico, Craven and Carteret counties, and all the way down to Morehead City. In Reelsboro, 250 meals were served in eight minutes on Tuesday, and there were still people waiting in line for food, according to Marie Peedin, who’s taken on coordinating the endeavor. Peedin, an engineer, is now putting out feelers to friends across eastern North Carolina, finding out who needs food and how to get it there.

“It’s kind of through word of mouth,” Peedin said. “Mostly because social media is so fast, we’re like, ‘Tell your local fire departments,’ about it. We’re going through preachers and getting feedback from community people.”

To facilitate donations for food and for supplies to package individual meals, Peedin set up a GoFundMe page — named Carryout’ Food Relief Fund-Florence — a bank account to keep donated money separate from business money and created a volunteer sign-up page through SignUpGenius — named Kitchen Duty Flood Relief.

GOOD DEED: Volunteer Jennifer Roy chopped carrots Wednesday for use in the hot meals Carryout by Chrislyn is delivering to those in need in the wake of Hurricane Florence. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

The call for those in need of food, and for volunteers to help prepare it, drew swift response. In one day, $4,700 of a $10,000 goal was raised on the GoFundMe page.

“I think it’s turned into something a whole lot bigger than they thought it would be, which is a great thing,” said Frannye Fowle. “There were so many people volunteering that they put me in the office to make phone calls.”

Fowle was one of many volunteers that were, indeed, tucked away in all parts of Chrislyn’s kitchen prepping food on Wednesday. Sharing the same kitchen were Chrislyn’s employees keeping up with regular business, which has taken a hit because several of her catered events were canceled this week and last week due to the storm, Wedderien said.

“She’s using her catering kitchen to cook these meals and send them out and try to run a business at the same,” said Sarah Ninan, who also volunteered in the kitchen Wednesday.

It’s attracted the notice of many area churches and other agencies hosting disaster relief volunteers — by purchasing meals from Carryout by Chrislyn, they’re supporting her volunteer food relief effort to the southeast.

Peedin said they’ve got volunteers for kitchen duty lined up through Saturday, but the $4,700 for supplies has gone fast.

“We’re not sure how long we’ll be at it — until the money’s run out or the volunteers run out,” Peedin laughed.

As disaster relief workers, and meals, make their way into nearer communities devastated by Florence’s wind, rain and flooding, Wedderien said she’s determined to get Carryout by Chrislyn meals to those in need, regardless of how far away.

“I heard the shelves in Walmart (in Wilmington) were bare, and they had to shut down the fast food restaurants almost immediately after they opened because the food ran out,” Wedderien said. “We need to go to Wilmington.”
Donations can be made to the GoFundMe page or dropped off at the store, located at 128 E. Second St., Washington. The link to the volunteer sign-up page can be found on the Carryout by Chrislyn Facebook page.