Paradise Island has been a roadside attraction and ministry along Route 80 in Christian for decades. Paradise Island may be known for lodging and campgrounds but for many it’s a lifeline.
Miracle Island Unlimited Executive Director Priscella Cline Smith began a food pantry at the Paradise Island location seven years ago. According to Smith, the pantry topped out this past June with 100,000 food boxes or 990,000 pounds of food.
"The last three months we've been feeding right at 7,000 people," Smith said. "February, we were feeding about 3,000 a month 30,000 pounds of food. Then the virus hit. We had to reduce down to a skeleton crew and increased feeding people by about 4,000."
Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Cline Smith said she had to choose between running her lodging business or feeding the people. She chose to feed the people and they need help to continue the work. Volunteers are needed and workers to help finish a pavilion to move the operation inside for the winter months.
"For us to survive," Smith said, "we nee a crane that can lift 40' trusses up in the air 18'."
Smith is in the middle of building a t 42' by 48' building in order to get the operation inside. The non-profit 501-c3 operates on donations and volunteers.
Wednesday, November 18th the food pantry will be open for the public between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The pantry is a drive-thru operation. People are asked to bring a clean box or a tote to be filled. You must always wear a mask.
Paradise Island will also host COVID-19 testing and flu shots tomorrow for the state DHHR and the National Guard. Moreover, you can get information about new glasses, hearing aids and teeth if you receive Medicare or Medicaid.
For more information call Priscella at 304-583-2825