Between the Lines



I came across the flags in town last week flying at half-mast in honor of those killed in the horrible Lee County tornadoes. I was driving to my house and, as usual, pulled in the driveway and hopped out to unlock the front door. As my hand reached up to slide in the key, all I could think about was the number of people without homes, all over our county. We just suffered tremendous damage from Thursday’s tornado. But whether it be from storms, unemployment or a simple downturn in luck, I often forget how many people suffer throughout our land of plenty.

About a year ago I started a “Little Free Pantry” in my yard. For those unfamiliar, a Little Free Pantry is just an oversized mailbox where food can be placed in and taken out as needed by anyone. I wasn’t sure how it would be received, or if it would even be used. Almost daily I am struggling to restock it with food and hygiene products. Someone, somewhere, needed that Little Free Pantry.

That’s always the case, isn’t it? Someone, somewhere, is in need. I guess it took my Little Free Pantry to show me that homelessness and hunger isn’t always a world away. I’ll keep stocking the pantry as often as I can because whomever is taking from it must need it, and that is its purpose. I may not see them, but they are there. I may not see the person who lost everything in Lee County or right here at home, but they are there. It’s a connection we all share… that of need. We each have differing levels of need, but it’s nonetheless present.

Like a sign I hung inside the pantry, “If you have it, give it. If you need it, take it.” Thankfully, we have amazing fire and police departments that spring into action on a moment’s notice… just like they did Thursday. And we also have an immense love in our communities that only grows larger in times of need.

Until next time, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.

-Richard Phillips