Shown l-r are Rotarian Chuck Thomas, Stan Bell and Joe Birch pack up after Memphis Food Bank giveaway at St. Patrick’s Church.

By Tony Jones

MEMPHIS, TN — People that believe in God often say that one of the positives their faith provides them is the strength to fight back against any calamity. 

The rise of the Covid-19 pandemic has proven that mantra for many, as churches throughout the city have stepped forward in a big way to support the Memphis Food Bank’s mission to feed more people as the virus gripped the nation. Many are still at it, and last month we just happened to run into two of the city’s best known media personalities, Stan Bell and Joe Birch, as they were wrapping up after the most recent monthly giveaway sponsored by the Memphis Rotary Club at St. Patrick’s Church. 

The pair will be back for the partnership’s 19th giveaway on Saturday, Sept. 24th, 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon. 

 But the cool part about it was that they weren’t just skinning and grinning and hanging out to bring some attention to the day. We caught them at the end of the day along with Rotary club members as they were packing up the last of the equipment. Many churches and organizations have volunteers that do it every week, and like Bell and Birch, and AT&T’s Director of Legislative Affairs Chuck Thomas, find themselves all worn out at the end of the run, but very happy. Both said they really enjoy being a part of it and salute the many that do so throughout the city. 

Rotary’s current president, Burch said, “The pandemic started in March 2020. We were scrambling wondering what we could do to help. We did the first one in June 2020 and every month since.” He always calls WDIA’s Bev Johnson Show to invite people.

St. Patrick’s community outreach has long been a safety net for many in the close by Foote and Claiborne Homes neighborhoods. Rotary collaborates with the church for the food drive, the Mayor’s Office for Youth Services regularly participates, along with many more collaborators such as UT Center for Health Sciences providing nutrition information.    

“It’s fun!” ten-year Rotarian Thomas says.

“Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes,” Bell underlines.