Stories of Hunger in Northeastern North Carolina
Food Bank of the Albemarle serves 15 counties in northeastern North Carolina, serving over 6 Million meals annually. Since mid-March, when the COVID pandemic caused schools and businesses to close, we have seen an increase of 46% in our total distribution of food. The public support has been incredibly generous and contributed greatly in enhancing the Food Bank’s ability to serve these individuals and families. We were fortunate to have a few share their stories with us, and how the Food Bank has helped them:
Sharon’s husband, who worked in the local hotel service industry, lost his job in early March due to COVID-19 job cuts, leaving the family of four with just a single income.
She says she was fortunate to keep her job at a convenience store, although her hours were cut. “It’s been hard,” Sharon says. “We have two children to feed.”
Sharon’s family was receiving just $39 in SNAP (formerly known as the food stamp program) per month, which barely covers their grocery expenses. She said that the increase in SNAP benefits in March & April, which allotted the maximum benefits to all recipients, was very welcome and helped ease the need to seek help from the mobile pantry.
“I didn’t come to the mobile pantry last month, because we were OK,” she says. “I wanted the food to be available for someone else that might need it.”
Sharon adds that she is looking forward to her husband being able to return to work soon, and that it will ease the burden a bit more on their family.
Clara and her husband receive food each month from the Food Bank’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Both retired seniors, the 35 lb. box of food they receive through the CSFP program helps to supplement what they are able to purchase at the grocery store.
“My husband had to retire due to health reasons,” Clara says “and I had to quit my job to take care of him. My job didn’t have any retirement benefits, so we have a very low income.”
The risks of COVID-19 has made Clara and her husband only go out for necessities, and they are cooking more at home.
Clara adds that the food she receives through the CSFP program, as well as food that she gets local pantries really helps them and eases a burden.
“I really do appreciate the food that y’all give to us. It helps us a lot. The food we receive is a huge help.”
Brenda became unemployed on May 12th, due to COVID-19. She lives and takes care of her two sisters, each with serious health problems at this time, making them exceptionally vulnerable.
“One of my sisters just had major surgery, and my other sister has cancer and is undergoing treatment right now,” Brenda says. “And I’m the only one that can drive. I’m the only one able to go out and get food for the household right now.” Brenda is resourceful, and has found the local food pantries and the mobile distributions by Food Bank of the Albemarle to help tremendously at this difficult time. She hopes that people in need see the Food Bank as a resource that can make a real difference in their life, and give them the nutritious food they need.
“100%, this helps us. This helps us so very much,” Brenda adds. “I really appreciate what you’re doing here.”
Your contributions to Food Bank of the Albemarle feed people every day across northeastern NC. Together, we can solve hunger.
About Food Bank of the Albemarle
The Mission of the Food Bank is to fight hunger and poverty in our 15-county service area in northeast North Carolina. We are a regional clearinghouse for the collection and distribution of food and grocery items to 100 hunger-relief partners operating 145 unique programs. Food Bank of the Albemarle serves Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties. For more information, call (252) 335-4035 or visit www.afoodbank.org.