Every August since 2007, The Rusty Bucket store in downtown Apex has held a pretty successful food drive for the Western Wake Crisis Ministry.
In the previous five years, the shop has collected more than 3,000 pounds of food and has averaged well over 500 pounds annually.
This year, however, is a much different story.
Store owners Mack and Pam Thorpe hope to collect 1,000 pounds of food during the four-week drive. So far, they have collected just one bag of canned goods.
The poor response has them searching for answers.
“To be honest, it has been a real disappointment,” said Mack. “We have 2,300 people on our email list and another 1,400 people on Facebook. Now, I realize there is some overlap there but that is still a lot of people. We have sent out multiple emails but we’ve only had one customer bring in a bag.
“Is this indicative of the times? Are people that strapped that they can donate anything? I really don’t know. Maybe people have been so wrapped up in the Olympics they just haven’t had time.”
The month of August is one of the most difficult times for WWCM. While donations flood into the ministry during the holidays, the flow of food slows to a trickle during the heat of summer.
A conversation with WWCM Executive Director Becky Spell about the ministry’s summer struggles prompted the Thorpes to begin their food drive.
“That is why we decided to hold it,” said Mack. “Becky told us they really struggle in the summer. Last year, they would come over to the shop every day and take food from our collection bin because they needed it that badly.”
There are currently 2,004 families – or 5,772 individuals – who rely on WWCM for food. The numbers are even higher for those who receive financial help from the ministry.
The need is there, said the Thorpes. Unfortunately, the donations are not.
“There just hasn’t been a response this year,” said Pam. “We can’t put a finger on it.”
The Thorpes currently are providing an incentive to help. Customers will receive a one percent discount in the store for every pound of food they donate. The offer is being capped at 20 percent.
“As business owners, we started this drive as a way to give back to our community,” said Mack. “It also provides an opportunity for others to give back as well. There are people out there who need our help.”
For more information visit www.therustybucket.biz/store/