Demand for food ‘way beyond my supply’

Rockingham bishop seeks community support to feed the needy

By Kevin Spradlin

Today is Monday. The day after Sunday — that is, the day after many Christians have attended church to fellowship with those who share similar beliefs and to, in short, start the work week feeling better and stronger mentally and spiritually.

Bishop T.R. Harrington

Bishop T.R. Harrington

Today, according to Bishop T.R. Harrington, also is a day to reflect. To reconsider. To reposition priorities. And to consider those in Richmond County who are in need of a little help to put quality food on their kitchen tables to feed their families.

Harrington operates Tabernacle Full Gospel We Care Food Center at 329 Airport Road in East Rockingham. The center historically has given free food to families every Thursday, but a lack of funds has forced Harrington to offer the program only every other week. This Thursday, at 2 p.m., the doors will open again to serve the less fortunate. Harrington said the line will begin forming at least 90 minutes prior to that.

“The demand for food has gotten way beyond my supply since I’ve been there,” Harrington shared with The Pee Dee Post. “I haven’t been able to get any support from any of the churches in the surrounding area. I can’t do it out of my pocket anymore. We’re feeding over 100 families on each give out date. Still, there are people that are waiting and coming afterward, wanting food.”

Harrington said he’s been a part of setting up five food centers in the Carolinas, including multiple locations in Richmond County, one in Moore County and one in Chesterfield County, S.C., since the 1980s. In recent years, “I’ve been wanting to give it up, but when I see the growing demand … that encourages me to keep on going in spite of the obstacles. I still try and do the best that I can.”

One of Harrington’s biggest surprises is the lack of support from area churches. They just don’t give, he said, and he just doesn’t understand why.

“I’ve been trying to figure this out now for years,” Harrington said. “I just do not know why. Where ever I’m giving out food, I’m looking at their members standing in line. I’ve got not one penny from a church. It truly bothers me, being churches and what they are supposed to do.”

As wages continues to be stretched this for all types of families from all walks of life, Harrington said, the need won’t go away anytime soon. People of all races are in the line on Thursdays.

“You’ve got a lot of them that are actually working,” Harrington said, but “their income is really not enough for them. The demand has increased by 60 percent” since August 2013.

While Harrington in one moment talks about giving up, in the very next breath he speaks with the enthusiasm of a school child on Christmas morning about what’s possible.

“If I could get the funds where I could give out every week, it would be a great blessing,” he said. “If a church would just give $25 a month, it would be a blessing.”

Harrington knows how to make that $25 go a long way. A very long way. Through the Resotring Hope Food Center in Lauringburg and the Sandhills Food Bank, salvaged goods and dry goods go cheap — some food is free, and other food stuffs goes at a rate of 18 cents a pound.

Harrington is seeking the community’s support. If anyone would like to help his cause, he can be reached by phone at 910-419-4271 or by email at

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  • Mark Joplin

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bishop T.R. Harrington while I presenting his Church with Flyers for Place of Grace Tent Community, and Transitional Services of Richmond County. Our discussion centered around the assistance and collaboration that is lacking from other churches. I can say from experience that when I started calling, emailing and posting on social media to church’s requesting donations for the Tent Community, I only received three responses. People, it takes a village to raise a child. Please, get involved and assist those that, at that time, need a little help. I pray that you do.

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