LUMBERTON — The Love Kitchen rolled into Lumberton and handed a dish everyone loves, especially the hungry — 400 slices of pizza.
The Little Caesars Love Kitchen, a big-rig pizza kitchen on wheels, stopped at the Lumberton Christian Care Center and fed more than 100 people during lunch hour.
Clementine Thompson-McCormick, the president of the center, said it was easy getting the Love Kitchen to stop at the center.
“They called and offered it and we accepted it,” Thompson-McCormick simply said.
The Love Kitchen truck covers the eastern portion of the United States. Local Little Caesars franchise owners and regional offices donate all food and labor costs to make the pizzas fresh at the site. The Lumberton Little Ceasars Pizza is located at 1934 N. Roberts Ave.
The truck is complete with a walk-in cooler, an area to shape the dough, a make station to dress the pizzas, holding racks, and ovens in the back of the trailer, said Jeff O’Meara, the coordinator and truck driver.
The center feeds the homeless and hungry Mondays through Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Along with the pizza, Tuesday’s meal included salad, desserts and a beverage for each person — and a second helping for those who wanted it.
“What it’s doing today is keeping our chef from having to prepare a bigger meal,” Thompson-McCormick said.
“We always have good food when we come here but it was a treat to have the pizza,” said Shirley Bell, who eats at the center about once a week. .
Thompson-McCormick feels like she’s doing God’s work.
“You know you can go to church and listen for years but until you put the pedal to the metal, you’re just wasting your time,” she said. “This is God’s work, helping other people.”
And those in need were appreciative of the help.
“I adore this place. It will help my grandkids that fall by the wayside,” said Cynthia Thompson, a Lumberton resident and a regular at the center.
“This is a wonderful place. It helps a lot.” Lequire Watson said. “Nobody cares about Lumberton but here, they care.”
Since its start in 1985, the Little Caesars Love Kitchen has fed more than 3 million people in all 50 states and four Canadian provinces. It has also responded to disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as the site of the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the 1995 Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City.
“We know that it’s important to reach out to the communities where we do business and help make a difference,” said David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars. “As a family company, we are proud to work together with our local franchisees and company-owned stores to coordinate the vehicle, staff and food and to be there for the people in Lumberton who need assistance.”
An estimated 50,000 Little Caesars franchise owners and employees have volunteered their time over the years to support the program in their local communities.
“I love doing this. It’s just a awesome thing,” O’Meara said. “It’s incredible what they do, giving back to the community like this.”
The Lumberton Christian Care Center is a community center and shelter, located at 220 E. Second St., Lumberton. In addition to serving hot meals, it provides temporary shelter to the homeless.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached by phone at 910-309-3469 or by email at [email protected]