By Matt Abele, Social Media Ambassador for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC

I recently signed up to serve as a Social Media Ambassador for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. I joined at the request of my friend Molly, a Food Bank staff member. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that this seemingly small volunteer effort was much more than my obligation to a friend.

This fall I had the opportunity to travel with the Food Bank to Urban Ministries of Wake County, one of their partner agencies. We took a tour of the facility and I was awestruck by their operations, the scope of their services, and the impact they can have on the community. They have a food pantry, a teaching kitchen, a walk-in medical clinic, and even a pharmacy. They help make it possible for people to find a permanent home, receive necessary medication, and eat healthy food. On the tour I learned that more than 100,000 people in Wake County live at or below the poverty level. That’s a family of four trying to live on an annual income of $23,283 or less. For me, that staggering statistic makes clear the serious need for hunger-relief organizations such as Urban Ministries and the Food Bank.

This single experience was an incredible wake-up call for me. I have lived in Wake County for nearly two years and had been completely oblivious to the need right in my own backyard. I had always imagined hunger and homelessness occurring in areas outside of my community. After all, it’s hard to accept that poverty occurs in such high rates in the Triangle area when we are often called one of the best places to live in the country. Do we honestly subscribe to that label when so many children, seniors, and families don’t have enough to eat?

I believe we can build a strong community where every person has the opportunity to lead a healthy and active life. Small acts do add up to large impacts. For me, it’s raising awareness of hunger and the Food Bank’s mission on social media. What will be your small act today?

Photo of Matt Abele in Urban Ministries Food Pantry

That’s me taking a tour of the food pantry at Urban Ministries of Wake County

Urban Ministries of Wake County, like many of our partner agencies, work hard to provide healthy food to food insecure families. If you’d like to help make a difference this holiday season, give to our Holiday Meals Drive to help ensure our partner agencies have stocked shelves and warm meals for local families.