The Food Bank is committed to serving those in need, and we’re very thankful for the trust that’s placed in us – by our donors, our volunteers, by our Partner Agencies. We could never do this important work alone. Below are just some of the ways we’re working to safely get food out into the community throughout COVID-19.
The Food Bank Is Still Open – And We’re Here For The Long Haul
On top of our normal operations serving the community, the Food Bank has distributed over 64,000 family-sized boxes, containing 20 meals per box, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. These boxes are what we’re hearing are most helpful to the community right now, providing more meals to sustain people during these uncertain times. Through coordinated efforts, these boxes are going to our disaster relief partner agencies, some school districts in our service area, and several Meals on Wheels chapters, to help support seniors on weekends. In addition to the pre-packed boxes we’ve been able to purchase (thanks to financial donations), small groups of volunteers have packed more than 8,000 of those family-sized boxes.
Another 357 boxes of food distributed to veterans, active duty military, and their spouses – this time in Hillsborough. Thank you Gary Sinise Foundation for the additional funding that enabled our Sandhills Branch to expand this program beyond Moore County. Thanks also to North Carolina National Guard for carrying out the distribution & supporting our COVID-19 relief work. Partnership Power!
Fridges, and coolers, and freezers – oh my! These appliances are heading to our local Partner Agency food pantries, to increase their capacity for perishable foods. This is a big deal because the more produce, diary, & meats they can receive from the Food Bank, the more healthy food they can distribute to neighbors in need!
Special thanks to our sister food bank, MANNA FoodBank!
A mother with 6 children came to the Food Bank, urgently needing food. “We will take whatever you can give,” she said. “We didn’t have enough food to eat last night, so they are extra hungry today.” Thanks to your support, our Office Administrator Laurel provided her with a box of emergency groceries, a list of local Partner Agency food pantries, and quite a bit of the extra bread we had on hand that day. Thank you for making this important work possible!
Our farmer and grower partners have been incredibly generous with their donations of produce! We are very thankful to have fresh and nutritious food available to serve people during this time of increased need.
This April we distributed a record-breaking 7.68 million pounds of food to our community. This is the largest single-month distribution the Food Bank has recorded in its 40-year history.
During this time of unprecedented need, we’re thankful for the added support from our donors and partner agencies, and the work that went into ensuring people who need this food could receive it:
• Increased transportation resources to provide additional food to communities
• Coordinated with new partners to ensure needs are being met for people across our 34 counties
• Increased the distribution of fresh produce, thanks to our farmer and grower partners
We don’t yet know the long term impact COVID-19 will have, but as always, the Food Bank is here for the long haul.
Three reasons we’re grateful for our Housekeepers, Larry & Jacky: they’ve always upheld the highest level of cleanliness & sanitation; as COVID-19 means more cleaning, they’ve risen to the occasion; and on top of everything, they also pack emergency food boxes for neighbors in need!
Ms. Evangeline January is a nurse in addition to running the First Cosmopolitan Baptist Church Of Raleigh pantry (our Partner Agency). She’s been working 13 hour shifts at Raleigh Rehab. Now she has a couple days off, and is making sure she’s helping all she can with the pantry. They were used to serving around 100 people a day, but that’s doubled since the COVID-19 crisis started. Cars have been wrapped around their building, down the street for food. The increase is mostly folks who have recently lost their jobs and have not needed this kind of help before. Let’s hear it for the Hunger Heroes throughout our network of nearly 900 Partner Agencies, ensuring good food gets directly into the hands of neighbors in need during this pandemic!
Our largest-ever single-day distribution of CSFP! A record-high 520 Halifax County seniors picked up their monthly food box from our new socially-distant drive-thru setup. Kudos to the staff, volunteers, & clients for adjusting to the changes COVID-19 has brought.
Libraries have always fed minds. For 2 days, food distributions at the Chapel Hill Public Library fed over 700 families. These distributions to meet the increased need due to COVID-19 were made possible by partnerships between the Food Bank, Town of Chapel Hill, & PORCH Chapel Hill Carrboro – and your financial donations!
One of the many things that’s changed because of COVID-19 is our partnership with The Green Chair Project. They’re now making deliveries to multiple families each day, and we’re providing them with snacks like cookies, crackers, & grapes plus bags of supplies that Nationwide packed & donated. Community collaboration at its best!
The Bank is also doing specific outreach to the Spanish speaking community, bringing us one step closer to fulfilling our vision of No One Goes Hungry.
There’s been an uptick of younger families reaching out to La Grange First Missionary Baptist Church (our Partner Agency) for food assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Their volunteers have risen to meet the need, serving more than 150 Lenoir County families over a 3 week span. Thank you Hunger Heroes!
With schools closed for COVID-19, we’ve been able to connect with local vendors to start serving ‘Kids Summer Meals’ early this year. So far, sites have been approved in half a dozen counties. We’re continuing to work with partners across our service-area to find innovative ways to serve our most vulnerable friends and neighbors throughout this pandemic.
Cedar Grove has a regular monthly food distribution – that almost ceased to occur. First, Cedar Grove Community Center had closed. Our Outreach Coordinator Jen Woods called Orange County Parks & Rec and the distribution transformed into drive through style. Second, most regular volunteers are seniors. We partnered with PORCH and Orange County Food Council to find volunteers. This perseverance and partnership means 142 households now have food to eat and a little bit of comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As COVID-19 interrupts our daily lives and Food Bank operations, our staff continue to rise to the occasion. For 3 years the Food Bank has administered a federal nutrition program that feeds seniors, called CSFP, where each month volunteers pack nearly 6,000 boxes and our Partner Agency network distributes the boxes to seniors across our service area. Because of COVID-19, some Partner Agencies are unable to distribute the boxes, so more than a dozen Food Bank staff & core volunteers loaded up their cars and hit the road. These Hunger Heroes delivered nearly 250 boxes to seniors’ doorsteps to ensure the program stays on track.
Our Wilmington Branch ensured Weekend Power Packs were available at Pender County Schools as families picked up their distant-learning supplies. Going forward, the shelf-stable packs of food will be delivered every-other-week via the school buses delivering daily hot breakfasts and lunches at 55 stops around the rural district. “The combination of prepared meals and food to take home and cook themselves is really helping our families,” says Aja Winstead, Alternative Learning Program Coordinator with Pender County Schools. This impactful collaboration originally formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, when our Outreach Coordinator Erin Courtney introduced Aja to the local Weekend Power Pack partners: Pender County Christian Services, Inc., Share The Table, & Wesleyan Chapel UMC. “Erin came in to help everyone sit down at the same table and talk about how to meet the needs together,” says Aja. “The food alliance built during Florence has lasted and grown.” With trusted partnerships already in place, this COVID-19 response came together quickly and naturally to nourish kids and their families.