SNEADS FERRY, ONSLOW COUNTY - Shonna Schindler has always given clothes and other items to Mama J's Helping Hand. But now that she's in need, Schindler knows she can go there for help.
"If it wasn't for her right now, I probably would have been in a bad situation, probably out on the street," Schindler said. "So, she was a really big help."
Jeanette Lopez started this nonprofit about three years ago to provide free clothes, baby items and household needs. But Lopez says food is always in high demand.
"We're not funded by anybody -- government, state, county," Lopez said, "and so anything helps us."
Over the weekend, Mama J's got some help from the post office. Because of the U.S. Postal Service's Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive over the weekend, Mama J's collected about 13,000 pounds of food.
Lopez says that's about three month's worth of food for the nearly 600 clients who stop in every month. Lopez adds that the number of monthly client visits have risen by the hundreds within the last six months.
"If it wasn't for her, this community wouldn't have a lot right now," Schindler said. "There'd be a lot more people homeless, no food."
It's because Mama J's welcomes anyone -- no questions asked.
"A lot of times, they will come in here either embarrassed or ashamed to come in, but by the time they leave here, they're smiling, they feel comfortable, know they can come back," Lopez said. "I welcome they come back and volunteer. We really try to be a family."
A family -- helping thousands of others.
Mama J's Helping Hand has its second annual 5K coming up to raise money for diapers, baby wipes and other infant care items. For more information, visit mamajshelpinghand.com.