You can see the excitement in someone who is meant to serve, and you can see it in their work. This type of excitement is evident at the Dunn United Ministerial Association, or DUMA, managed by executive director, Todd Snyder, which recently received an Operation Round Up grant.
“DUMA started about 30 or so years ago,” said Snyder. “A group of local pastors would meet monthly and pray and they would talk about people that would come to them for help.”
Noticing a lot of similarities between congregations, they started DUMA, which is now comprised of 28 churches and over 260 volunteers.
"We didn't decide what services to offer," he said. "Rather, God did."
The main program is the food pantry, which helps with back pack buddy programs, food for home-bound individuals and more, but the organization also offers financial assistance, financial counseling and is looking to do even more.
"Oscar Harris [former Dunn businessman and mayor] gave the property [323 East Broad Street, Dunn] to the organization to begin this program, and explained a 10-year plan," said Snyder.
Snyder laid out how people came through the pantry program. When someone first visits the pantry they must complete paperwork regarding number of family members and overall need.
Once it is determined how many people live in a home, a client is assigned a letter which will ensure they receive the proper amount of food and toiletries for their household.
"This grant was awesome to receive because we can't do what we do without people and organizations who support us," said Snyder. "We are very appreciative and are even more responsible in how the money is spent."
So, on the next visit, clients just check in and move through the pantry.
When finished, clients exit out the back door, where volunteers help to load their car.
"We are open to the public two days a month, on the second and fourth Tuesdays for food distribution," said Snyder.
The days before a distribution, coolers are stocked, boxes are separated and filled, and bags are packed. However, the Wednesday following one, leaves the organization bare.
The Operation Round Up grant they received was to purchase food that they cannot otherwise get from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, or food drives.
This would include being able to make purchases from local retail stores to directly facilitate community need. "This grant was awesome to receive because we can't do what we do without people and organizations who support us," said Snyder. "We are very appreciative and are even more responsible in how the money is spent."
Because not only does DUMA run the local pantry, but it also serves up to 37 homebound seniors each week with hot meals and food boxes each Thursday.
Every Friday, they take about 147 food bags to five schools to distribute to children who are food insecure.
Once a year, they send food to the Baptist Children’s home, and partner with First Baptist Church of Dunn to pack 140 food boxes for Meals On Wheels recipients when services stop during the holidays.
DUMA partners with numerous churches to help with their programs, be it backpack buddies or homebound members' food provisions.
"We have people volunteering from all kinds of faith backgrounds," said Snyder. "And they've met some of their best friends volunteering and working here."
DUMA is at work to add a permanent health clinic, which would be open weekly for free health services.
They were offering a free health and vaccine clinic with Campbell University students of medicine and it worked out very well.
"There is very seldom we haven't been able to meet a need," he said. "This is one of those needs."
DUMA is also at work to open a pay-what-you-can restaurant. This format does not charge a certain price for a meal, but rather you pay what you can or want. This will help those who truly need it as well, since tokens will be available for those who don't have the money to cover a meal.
"We have seen a huge increase in financial assistance and more use of the food pantry," said Snyder. "There has been an increase in need of services with the changes in the economy."
Interested in donating, or volunteering? Call 910.891.1633 to learn about needs and opportunities. The organization fundraises as well and the list of upcoming events can be found on their web site, dunnunited.org.
Join South River EMC’s Operation Round Up!
Does your monthly power bill amount always end in “.00”? If not, please consider joining Operation Round Up! By opting to round up each monthly bill to the nearest dollar amount (giving an average $6 per year), South River EMC members help fund vital local community services.Join today!