HARRELLS — During the week, a group of senior citizens enjoy gathering at the local Nutrition Site to fellowship and receive a meal. But many of them feel like the center is being ignored by Sampson County officials.
A group of concerned members met Saturday morning to discuss needed repairs for the building. Some of the needs are paintings, flooring, curtains, new windows and bathroom upgrades. During the meeting, a lot of members in attendance expressed how they felt about the situation and said they were left out of the county’s 2017-18 budget. The next fiscal year is scheduled to begin July 1. At the meeting, it was noted that they would like to receive financial assistance of some sort in county funding in the future.
Although Larry Herring is not a senior, he believes the building is important to have in the community.
“I feel that this building needs to be saved for our community,” Herring said while speaking up and showing support. “It’s very important to everybody, from the elders to the kids. Events go on here and you can see by the condition of the building that something has to be done.”
The building is also utilized by members of North Gate Lodge No. 576 and Order of the Eastern Star No. 639. Members of the site would like the building to be a hub for events such as health fairs, but they believe it’s not presentable enough to do so.
Supporter Nicholas Maynor shared some of the same feelings of Herring, when it comes to the upkeep.
“If we don’t take care of our elders, who will? We have to,” Maynor said. “We got to do our work for them.”
Although budget plans for the Sampson County Board of Commissioners are set, they plan to make a strategic plan to address needs for the 2018-19 budget year. During the meetings, more attendance at sessions was also encouraged.
It was previously reported that one of the last contributions made from Sampson County was $10,000 for a roof replacement, which occurred more than three years ago. In 2016, the nutrition site received a grant for new lights from Four County Electric. A lot of supporters in attendance also drew attention to a $50,000 allocation to the Sampson County History Museum. They believe that’s a large sum of money for just one organization.
The meeting came after similar comments made by Commissioners Harry Parker and Albert Kirby regarding the lack of special allocation money given to other organizations, including the Harrells site, Coharie Tribal Council and the Sampson High School Alumni Association among others.
To assist with fundraising efforts, the nutrition site holds several projects during the year, such as quilting raffles and plate sales. In 2016, a gardening project was also created to help with renovation needs for the center which serves about 30 people.
Nutrition officials are currently accepting donations, which may be sent to Harrells Community Center, 183 Bland School Road, Harrells, N.C. 28444. For more information about the process or receiving a tax ID number, call 910-532-4090.