North Carolina food bank scrambles to feed the hungry

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina distributed 82 million pounds of food last year, through 900 local agencies, including religious groups, senior centers, and homeless and domestic-violence shelters. But now it’s scrambling to find food, and the volunteers to deliver it to people in need, many of them seniors, Barry Yeoman writes in FERN’s latest story.

A volunteer delivering meals reported talking with a woman in her eighties: “She actually told me, ‘Look, I was waiting for you because I haven’t got anything else to eat for lunch.’”

“At least 37 agency partners suspended operations,” Yeoman writes. “Many of them relied on older volunteers, who are at more risk of serious harm from Covid-19. Among those partners was Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, which announced last week that it would shutter its food pantry until it could develop better safety guidelines. Nearby food programs, including the Food Bank itself, have reported an uptick in emergency requests.”

But it has come up with novel programs, including loading food boxes into recipients cars in a kind of drive-through operation that allows people to keep their distance.