TAKE 5: Memorial fundraiser gives boost to The Breadbasket

Sep. 07, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

This week, we Take 5 with Bill Jones III, the president of The Breadbasket in Sanford, about the organization and its upcoming “Fletcher Rosser Day” fundraiser. Jones is a past governor of the Sanford Moose Lodge and past president of the Sanford Exchange Club, and currently serves as an elder at Jonesboro Presbyterian Church. He and his wife Jane have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

What is the mission of The Breadbasket?

To provide a free hot meal to those individuals who cannot afford one and who otherwise would go hungry if these meals were not provided. There is no intent to provide meals for those who are financially able to pay for their own. However, we do not question, nor is there a needs test, to ensure the recipients are in need. We simply trust the integrity of those taking advantage of this service that their financial situation fits the mission of The Breadbasket.

So you don’t turn anyone away?

Everyone who comes to our door is provided with a good meal five days a week. The Breadbasket is presently serving an average of 180-200 plates per day and also furnishes some food to CUOC (Christians United Outreach Center) and the Salvation Army. Food is also provided on an as-needed basis to The Enrichment Center, women and men’s shelters and several shut-ins. Last month we served more than 4,000 plates, and in 2012, we served almost 50,000 plates. We’ve had a lot of growth; we served 37,000 plates in 2010, then 41,600 in 2011.

When and by whom was The Breadbasket started?

In 1989, a group of people — mostly from St. Thomas Episcopal Church — wanted to start a program to feed needy people in Lee County. After much planning, The Breadbasket opened its doors in September 1990. In 1991, 8,358 plates were served.  The menu consisted of soup and sandwiches. As time passed, the meal became more of a home-cooked-style meal, which today consists of at least one meat, two vegetables, usually a salad, tea and dessert. Through generous donations from individuals, churches and businesses, an 1,800-square-foot building with industrial cooking equipment was opened on East Chisholm Street in 2002, where we now operate.

Tell us about your funding, especially the Fletcher Rosser Memorial Day fundraiser.

On Sept. 24, 2004, one year after Fletcher Rosser passed away, The Breadbasket was dedicated to his memory, and The Breadbasket building was named in his honor.

Fletcher devoted a great amount of time, resources and passion for the organization from its inception until his death. Also, the third Friday in September was proclaimed to be “J. Fletcher Rosser Day” in Sanford and Lee County by the city council and county commissioners. Again, to memorialize Fletcher and to honor his passion for The Breadbasket, we will hold another fundraiser Sept. 27 at St. Luke United Methodist Church. Barbecue plates will be sold for $8. We will serve from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and from 5-7 p.m. with free delivery of 10 or more plates during the 11 a.m.-2 p.m. session. If you’re interested in ordering, call WWGP/WFJA at (919) 775-3525 or fax your order to (919) 775-2113. From this fundraiser we hope to raise approximately $7,000. The deadline for ordering plates is Sept. 25.

What other events do you have planned to help fund The Breadbasket?

We also sponsor a dinner theater at the civic center each year where we provide a full meal, usually provided by a local caterer, and admission to Temple Theatre. The theater portion has been sponsored and provided by Bill Ray and Bankingport Inc., Buddy Tice and Carolina Atlantic Supply, and Oscar Keller and Parkview Rest & Retirement Center.

Next year, also for the benefit of The Breadbasket, we will get proceeds from the sale of up to 300 tickets, plus profits from the dinner, from our dinner theater project on May 4. From this event, we hope to raise $8,000.

Our largest source of funding is donations from individuals, businesses, organizations and churches. We do at least three mailings each year and, generally, people are very supportive. There are also several businesses, individuals and churches that make periodic contributions.

Expenses to operate The Breadbasket are running about $6,000 per month. We have one full-time contract employee in addition to utilities, serving supplies, repairs and maintenance.

Anyone wanting to help with this very worthy mission can mail donations to The Breadbasket, P.O. Box 912, Sanford, N.C. 27331-0912. For more information, call Susan Rosenthal, our manager, at (919) 774-3118.