Religion News: Hilton Head food pantry searches for permanent home

March 12, 2011 

  • Items for Harley's column should be sent at least two weeks in advance of event via fax to 843-706-3070 or e-mail to

  • Sandalwood Community Food Pantry is open Tuesdays and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. It is operated out of a garage on Mathews Drive on Hilton Head Island.

    Donations may be sent to Sandalwood Community Food Pantry, P.O. Box 5061, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938.


The Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson is not waiting around until April 1 to find a new home for the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry. More than 1,000 people rely on it for food each month. But the pantry has been given notice to move out of its current location by April Fools' Day.

She is praying for a new, permanent location and hopes to discuss the need with Hilton Head Island Mayor Drew Laughlin and other community leaders.

Pierson founded the food pantry Feb. 17, 2009, at her Sandalwood Terrace apartment. She began distributing food to five families from noon to 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday. It grew to help residents in need at Sandalwood Terrace, as well as nearby Hilton Head Gardens, The Oaks and surrounding neighborhoods.

Pierson said the apartment complex's manager told her to get rid of the pantry in January 2010. In an Island Packet story that month, Pierson cited a letter from the manager: "Your food pantry has outgrown Sandalwood's capacity to serve."

In February 2010 the group moved to a temporary location -- a garage on Mathews Drive, which has no heat, air conditioning or plumbing. Now their lease has expired and the owner will not renew it.

"It is a nice way of saying, 'We don't want to see those kind of people around here,'<2009>" Pierson said. "People don't want all these different kind of people coming even though it is only for two hours twice a week."

"We may not be the nicest thing to look at, but we are good people. A man came to the pantry and was moved to tears, and said 'I will be willing to pay your rent if you can find a place.'<2009>"

Twice a week people gather early for a group prayer. A hot meal is then served before the people wait in line for fresh vegetables, breads, pastries and meats. Second Helpings, among the largest donors, delivers about 5,000 pounds of food each week.

"The problem is nobody wants us to be their neighbor," Pierson said. "I understand that, but it makes it difficult feeding 700 families each week right now. And the lines are getting longer. These are incredieople who are having hard times. These are people I see in churches -- not roughneck people."

Pierson said about half of the recipients live below the poverty line, which allows USDA food to be delivered from the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston. Food stamps recipients are seeking assistance by the second week of the month now.

People now are coming for more than food. The pantry has evolved into a community where people receive fellowship, prayer and clothes. About 60 volunteers come to provide blood pressure checks and other services.

"One day I told a story about hope (to the recipients) -- Noah and the olive branch -- and everybody was in tears, it brought them a whole lot of joy," Pierson said. "Do you think Noah was saying 'thank you' on the 39th day of the rain? You just don't give up."


Angel Food orders may be placed from 10 a.m.-noon today at Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel, 1161 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island; from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday at Shell Point Baptist Church, 871 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort; and from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday and from 10 a.m.-noon March 19 at St. John's Lutheran Church, 157 Lady's Island Drive, Beaufort.

Orders are taken Monday through Saturday at Life House Church, 40 Faith Station, Beaufort. Details: 843-379-9673. Orders may be picked up from 9-10 a.m. March 26 at St. John's.

Online orders may be placed at


El Shaddai Ministries of Walterboro continues a youth revival with the theme "Youth Ablaze Setting a Standard for Praise" at 6 p.m. today with Minister Antonio Smith of New Life in Christ of Orangeburg. The church meets at 1121 Hampton St., Walterboro.

Details: 843-838-4444, 843-599-1668


Members of The Link Church will re-landscape Port Royal Elementary School from 9 a.m.-noon Sunday. The group will gather in Live Oak Park. Participants are asked to bring friends and landscaping tools. A free lunch will be provided.

Details: 843-592-1352,,


First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island will hold Lenten worship services of prayer and healing on Wednesdays through April 13 at 6:30 p.m. The services will be a time for prayer and reflection. The church will also hold a Lenten study, "Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins" by author Will Willimon, from March 13-April 17. The church is at 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head.

Details: 843-681-3696,,


Servants of God International Outreach Tabernacle will conclude the celebration of the Rev. Jacqueline Crawford's 11th pastoral anniversary at 4 p.m. Sunday. Apostle Jerome Middleton, Church of the Harvest Apostolic, St. Helena Island, will speak.

Jacqueline Harley School of Ministry, a division of Servants of God Ministries of Seabrook, is accepting registration for spring classes through March 19. The class topic is "Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith, Section 2." The church is at 2754 Trask Parkway, at the traffic light in Grays Hill.

Details: 843-846-6017


The Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson, founder and director of the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry, will discuss "Celebrating our Chips and Cracks along with our Finest Creations" at 10 a.m. Sunday at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry. Participants are asked contribute to the food bank. The fellowship meets at 110 Malphrus Road, Bluffton.

Details: 843-837-3330


The Rev. Jonetta Maria Prater, pastor of St. Peters African Methodist Episcopal Church in Savannah, will be guest minister at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort. Prater's sermon will discuss "Women: Now and Then." The fellowship meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island.

Details: 843-838-1399


First African Baptist Church of Hilton Head Island will hold its Spring Revival at 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. The speaker will be former First African Baptist pastor, the Rev. Corey Brown, who is the current pastor of Second African Baptist Church in Savannah. The church is at 70 Beach City Road, Hilton Head.

Details: 843-681-8163


Gillison Branch Baptist Church will celebrate the third anniversary of Pastor Raymond Hamilton at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Speakers are: Jeanette Harley of Family Worship Center in Yemassee; Pastor Amos Hatcher of Mount Olive RMUE in Hardeeville; and Pastor Eric Mason of Jesus First Community Church in Savannah. The church is at 4591 Calf Pen Bay Road, Pineland.

Details: 843-726-6143,


Pastor Edward Johnson, Pastor of Union Baptist Church will speak from noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Lunch Hour of Power in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-524-6634


"The Journey of the Jews: A Cultural Study" continues from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday at Congregation Beth Yam. Rabbi Brad Bloom leads the discussion series that continues through May. This week's topic is "Babylonian Rabbinic Culture" at the temple. On March 23, the topic is "Jewish Culture at the Beginning of Islam" at the Bluffton library. The congregation will officially dedicate the Megillat Esther at 8 p.m. Friday during Shabbat Services. The Megillah will be read at the Purim celebration at 7:30 p.m. March 19. The synagogue is at 4501 Meeting St., Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-689-2178


The Wesley United Methodist Church women will celebrate the 11th year of the Noon Inspirational Moment's lunch at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Wesley Education Building. Ethel Ladson, Christian education chairwoman of Faith Memorial Baptist Church, will speak. The theme is "The Light That Guides Us." The building is at Duke and West streets, Beaufort.

Details: 843-524-5918


Shepherd's House Ministries will host Women of Destiny Prayer Luncheon at 9:30 a.m. April 2 at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 2225 Boundary St., Beaufort. The guest speaker is Evangelist Shannon Felder of River of Life Christian Center Church of God in Christ of Winnsboro. Guest Psalmist is Mildred Daniels. The theme is "Travail 2011: Wrestle with God." Advance tickets are $20. The reservation deadline is Friday. Seating is limited.

Details: 843-252-5530, 843-812-4195


St. Luke's Church will hold an organ rededication celebration to celebrate "the new voice" of the Gabriel Kney tracker organ at St. Luke's with a concert of organ, brass and choral music at 4 p.m. March 20 in the sanctuary. "A Festival of Hymns" is the theme for the service. The festival will feature Scott Atchison, organist/music director of Peachtree United Methodist Church in Atlanta; the Ceremonial Brass from Savannah, directed by Robin Beauchamp; the St. Luke's and St. Cecilia Choirs; soloist Matthew Walley; and other instrumentalists. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the parish hall with wine, cheese and desserts. The concert and reception are free. The church is at 50 Pope Ave., Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-785-4099


Resurrection Christian Community Church will hold an "Unleashed Concert" by Belinda Jane, a national recording artist, at 7 p.m. March 20. Evening Worship is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The church is at 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-689-3625


Unity Church of Hilton Head Island will host a workshop, "Discovering the Sacredness of Breath and Sound" with Phil Shiva Jones, from 1-3:30 p.m. March 20 at The Hampton Inn & Suites, Bluffton, next to Sun City Hilton Head. The suggested love offering is $20. Visiting Australian interfaith minister and recording artist Phil Jones will present an interactive workshop teaching meditation and simple techniques with the Australian didgeridoo.



Marvin Rosenthal will speak on "Current Events in the Middle East and the Bible" on Friday through March 20 at Grace Community Church. The lectures will examine the prophetic implications of the current world events and the explosive Middle East. The conference begins at 7 p.m. Friday and March 19. Rosenthal will speak at the 9 and 11 a.m. services March 20. The conference is free. An offering will be taken for Zion Hope Ministry. The church is at 450 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island.

Details: Pastor Tom Simpson, 843-681-6698,

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