It's amazing what two people can do when they partner with a large grocer.
That's where Denise and her husband, William, come in. The Lafayette, Ga., couple lost their adult son Demetrius J. Jackson on Jan. 12, 1998, to brain cancer. It was a loss that his mother explains as incomprehensible and unbearable.
"I never really questioned God because I know there are a lot of other mothers who have lost their children as well," Denise Jackson said during an interview inside of Mt. Zion Baptist Church located in the small rural town of Georgia. "But what I do know is that God has given me a consolation that there are things like today's makeover happening because of my son."
After his death, the couple wanted to do something to honor their son's life, which they still affectionately refer to as "Metri." They asked church officials if they could have a space to operate a food pantry to help other people in Walker County, Ga., who were hungry. The church had no problems with the idea, but they did have a small dilemma: space.
The church's pastor, Rheubin Taylor, allowed them to operate out of a small space where they kept choir robes. Now, 18 years later, they have expanded three times to an adjacent building equipped with a waiting room, office and large area to operate a pantry. On Tuesday, Sept. 6, more than 10 Food Lion associates helped transform the pantry so that it could serve more hungry families.
Armed with tools and bright, yellow "Great Pantry Makeover" t-shirts, the hardworking group worked for two hours hammering and drilling together shelves and making other improvements so the church could serve more hungry families. Because of the pantry makeover, the church also received new countertops and was able to enclose a back porch area, which now houses a freezer. The freezer was donated by a church couple after they found out Food Lion was going to make other improvements through the makeover.
"I enjoy giving back to my community," said Sheila Lowman, customer service manager with Food Lion Store 1563. "In my life, I have had to use the food bank a couple of times, so this means a lot."
At the end of the renovations, which included stocking the pantry with 1,269 meals of non-perishable Food Lion product, Chattanooga Food Bank officials and Food Lion associates presented the Jacksons with a special plaque commemorating Tuesday's event which will hang in the pantry and continuing the couple's tradition of honoring their son, Demetrius J. Jackson, who will always be known to them as simply,"Metri."