We are very dependent on the Foodbank of Central and Eastern North Carolina for much of our food supply. Our local branch is located here in Wilmington and we work very closely with them. We receive monthly shipments of our allocation; typically, we send our van with a driver and helper and they go to the location on Marstellar Street at the appointed time to load our food. When they return to the Center, we have a team waiting to unload and shelve the food (not a simple task.) Some months, the allocation has been so great, it takes two trips to get it all. The increase in our allocations has been a side effect of the tariff situation. The US Department of Agriculture has a program to extend support to the farmers, buying surplus commodities from them and distributing it to food banks, schools, and other outlets that serve low-income people. Their purchases have included beef, grapes, lentils, oranges, pistachios, pork, strawberries and tomatoes and we have received most of these items. It has helped increase the assortment of healthy food items, though it’s a challenge for the foodbank and the agencies to store the perishable items.
I’ve just learned of another program that I wasn’t aware of: the SAM program. State Allocated Money. Each year our state legislature allocates a certain amount of funding for NC Food Banks, to be spent on food for emergency feeding programs. This year the funds will be received early and the items will be available before year end. We’ll have the opportunity to order items like mixed vegetables, black beans, diced tomatoes, and more. Each Tuesday, I have a shopper that goes to the Food Bank and ‘shops’ for me, choosing items we need the most. We pay a handling fee of 18 cents a pound for most, some items are free. The items available from the SAM program will also be free.
Of course, the Food Bank is only part of our food story; I’m grateful for everyone that helps us continue to be a food source for those in need.
Special Need of the Week: We are continuing our programs to provide Thanksgiving food baskets to those in need. Contact me if you’d like to help a family or if you’re able to help with distribution on Tuesday November 26.