Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It is with great sadness I that just learned of the passing of long-time Harvest Hope volunteer and supporter Edward Young Roper, Sr. Mr. Roper passed away at the age of 85 peacefully in his home on April 20. He is survived by his wife of 62 years Mary Lee Flowers Roper in addition to two daughters and a son, several grandchildren and step grandchildren.

Ed Roper and Mary Lee were staunch supporters of Harvest Hope for many years. Ed established the Daily Bread Memorial Fund years ago through the Central Carolina Community Foundation as a principal investment to provide continued income for Harvest Hope.

Ed’s dedication to battling hunger stems from his personal experience as a prisoner of war in a concentration camp during WWII. When just twenty years old he was captured on the battlefield shortly after the Battle of the Bulge by the Germans, and held from December of 1944 until April of ’45. Each day Ed and the other American prisoners were given just one loaf of bread to divide among six or eight men. Even though they existed in a continued state of near-starvation, the soldiers were made to perform backbreaking work.

The memory of terrible hunger and nutritional privation instilled in Ed Roper the desire to see that no one in his community suffered the effects of hunger. After receiving reparations from the Germans for his cruel treatment at the concentration camp, he established the Daily Bread Memorial Fund to benefit Harvest Hope. A designated fund such as Ed’s Daily Bread Memorial Fund supports a specified charitable institution named when the donor establishes the fund. Income from the fund is paid to the designated organization to be used to support the operations and programs. To ensure that Ed’s lifetime commitment to feeding the hungry is honored, his family has asked that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to either Harvest Hope or the Daily Bread Memorial Fund.

I will never forget the times I spent with Ed and Mary Lee as he talked about his experience being captured by the Germans, suffering from hunger and watching others around him die from starvation. He was very passionate to make sure that he took every opportunity to help hungry people and to educate others about the serious effects of hunger. He was a volunteer for many years with the Golden K's Kiwanis club helping Harvest Hope Food Bank by picking up bread each morning from area grocery stores, then bringing it back to the food bank to give out to clients and agencies. He, along with his friend Porter Anderson, made sure that his Sunday School Class at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church was involved with helping others and at least annually wanted a speaker from Harvest Hope to come in and help tell the story of hunger and facts of what hungry people experience in South Carolina.

All of us at Harvest Hope Food Bank share in the grief being felt by Mary Lee and her family.  They have shared in a lifetime of joy and giving from Ed Roper who was a very strong supporter that through a personal quest he did not want to see anyone suffer from hunger.  Our hearts reach out to the Roper family with love and peace.

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