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SNEADS FERRY, NC (WWAY) — Free is not a term you hear very often, but one Onslow County woman is reaching out a helping hand to those in need, and it’s all free of charge.

After a year of what started in her living room as a place teen mothers could go for help and supplies, Jeannette Lopez opened a store in Sneads Ferry. She says Mama J’s Helping Hand aims to empower all families by offering a hand up, not a hand out.

From clothing and food to formula and diapers, Mama J’s Helping Hand opened last December, offering everything free of charge to those in need.

“We are averaging feeding about 500 to 700 people a month now,” Lopez said. “I’m clothing a little over 300 people a month.”

“It’s a big help, because I’m on fixed income, and I’ve got two grandbabies I help take care of. Things get a little tight once in a while,” customer John Nicholson said.

As well as all of the free donations, Mama J’s also holds support groups for teen moms, domestic violence and PTSD victims.

“We sit around and talk about the traumas that they’ve seen and been through that is affecting their family,” Lopez said.

Even with collaboration with local churches, the salvation army, private donations, and volunteers, Lopez still pays about $1,000 a month out of pocket.

“When you’re blessing other people, it blesses you even more, and that makes me want to keep helping as many as possible,” she said.

Lopez says volunteers, canned goods and baby formula are always in need.

For more information, http://www.mamajshelpinghand.com/default.html.

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