Man keeps food pantry alive

Jun. 06, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

Cecilia Bowman says the Storehouse Daily Bread Ministry food pantry needed a miracle, and it got one in the form of Mike Lackey.

"He said, 'Tell me what you want,'" she said. "I said, 'I need a miracle.' He said, 'Move in.'"

The pantry and Crossroads Community Church were forced last week to move from their former location on Morganton Boulevard, where they had been operating rent-free for more than three years. CommunityOne Bank had foreclosed on the property in 2012 and had allowed them to remain until sending an eviction notice in April, saying a buyer for the property had been found.

"We were in an emergency situation," said Bowman, the director of the food pantry.

A church member contacted Lackey, owner Lackey Grading Co. Lackey also owns a 17-acre property off Bradford Mountain Road, which is where he told Bowman the food pantry could reopen.

Lackey, 62, suffers from advanced prostate cancer, congestive heart failure and Parkinson's disease.

"I've been depressed with my health," Lackey said. "If I can help someone else who may be going hungry, I will."

The past few days have been a flurry of activity for food pantry volunteers, who helped bring pallets of food from temporary storage at a building off Nuway Circle to one of the two spacious buildings on Lackey's land. While the space not as big as the food pantry's former location, it is enough to fit in 36 freezers and three refrigerators, along with food from Second Harvest Food Bank of Western North Carolina and Operation Blessing, an outreach of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

By Monday, the pantry will once again be operating. A kitchen and dining room also are being created from a neighboring building to house the church's Cooks for Christ outreach, which helps feed shut-ins.

The church now holds services at American Legion Post 29 in Lenoir. Church leaders have made an offer to buy a property in Hudson, but the church also may consider building a church on the Bradford Mountain Road property, which Lackey is working to sign over to the church.

"It's all God," Bowman said. "This just has great potential for all of our ministries."

Lackey said giving the church his property fulfills a mission of his to give back to those who are less fortunate.

"It's my way of giving," he said.