We ain’t going to change the world in one day, But we gonn’ work at it a day at a time.
Mrs. Gladys Pendergraph
Heavenly Groceries/Comida Celestial is a certified food bank and ministry of St. Joseph CME Church, dedicated to providing quality produce and grocery items to the under-served communities in and surrounding Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The organization strives to preserve individual dignity and cultural food ways by allowing visitors the option of making their own food choices. Heavenly Groceries/ Comida Celestial thrives off of a culture of compassion and community, cultivated by food’s ability to nurture the body and soul.
Heavenly Groceries/Comida Celestial began in 2002 as a ministry of St. Joseph C.M.E. Church when Reverend Troy Harrison and his wife Bernice Harrison began collecting bread from the Entenmann’s factory and distributing it to members of the church. Today, Heavenly Groceries reclaims food from three groceries stores and serves an estimated 3,500 individuals a month from at least five different counties. The food bank is open five days a week for distribution. In recent months, the food bank has had to discontinue weekend pickups due to limited numbers of volunteers. This work is completed with the collaboration of local church members, UNC-Chapel Hill students, and other individuals from the community who sort, clean, and distribute all food. Groceries are provided for every person that arrives at our doors, there are neither restrictions nor requirements necessary to be given food. We are one of the only North Carolina certified food banks that allows patrons to select their own food, which provides each person the opportunity to choose food he or she will enjoy and that adheres to particular food traditions. This model is meant to honor individuals’ preferences and dignity during the act of receiving food from a food bank.
Hours of Operation
Visitors may arrive as early as 3:30 to sign in at Heavenly Groceries. Heavenly Groceries operates on a lottery system, so places in line are randomly assigned. Once you sign in, you’re given a number. Sign ins are completely anonymous, and we only collect basic information to report back to the food bank (name, address, number of people in your household). The distribution process begins at 4:00. Heavenly Groceries does not operate on Holidays.
On the first Friday of every month Heavenly Groceries hosts the monthly Box Day event in which the ministry receives a large shipment of both perishable and nonperishable goods from the food bank. Visitors are encouraged to bring a box to carry canned food items. We also have a two hour distribution during Box Days (4-6 PM).
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Interested in Volunteering?
Volunteers are a vital component of Heavenly Groceries. Without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, we would not function.
Heavenly Groceries’ volunteers experience hands on interactions with long term residents of the Northside community and build prosperous relationships with patrons and community members.
Volunteer responsibilities include:
- Picking up food from community partners
- Loading and unloading boxes from our van
- Aiding in the set up and clean up
- Helping distribute grocery items to over 3,500 community members per month
Available Shifts: Monday-Friday