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Programs

Grocery Programs 

Requirements: 

  • Clients must have a referral from a professional in the community or our social services staff and include each person in the household that would like to receive food.   
  • Per referral, clients receive a 7-day supply of healthy groceries from all five food groups (Vegetables, fruits, proteins, dairy, grains) to create 21 balanced meals for each person listed on the referral. Groceries consist of nonperishable items including canned and dry goods as well as fresh produce, dairy, and frozen meat as available. 
  • Groceries are provided free of charge, regardless of income.  
  • Clients can receive groceries up to 12 times in one rolling calendar year. Our social services staff can approve additional referrals on a case-by-case basis for those with extenuating circumstances. If the professional making the referral adds refill(s), clients can call us directly to use refill(s) and receive more groceries. 

 

  • Brick and Mortar Pantry/Mobile Pantry Program – This program is for any food-insecure Mecklenburg County resident and those that live in surrounding areas. Clients receive a week’s worth of groceries. Pantries are open various days and times, but the schedule is the same every week and can be found here https://loavesandfishes.org/mobile-pantry/. Some pantries operate as contactless drive-throughs where clients show up, we check them in on iPads, they open their trunk, and we put food in. Other pantries operate as clients park their vehicle, knock on door or ring the pantry doorbell, and volunteers come out with prepacked boxes and fresh items. Some pantries are operating using client choice where clients park their vehicle and go into the pantry to shop for groceries. 

  • Grocery Home Delivery Program – This program is for food insecure Mecklenburg County residents only who cannot pick up from one of our pantries and do not have family, friends, or caseworker (support system) that can pick up for them. For example, they may have a transportation barrier or health barrier like COVID positive. Clients receive a week’s worth of groceries delivered to their home by a volunteer. Contact-free deliveries take place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10am-2pm.

 

  • Online Grocery Order Program – This program is an extension of the Grocery Home Delivery Program. Clients that are scheduled for home delivery are sent a link to our online grocery website where they can choose the items they would like delivered to their homes. Clients that do not submit an online grocery order will be sent a random assortment of healthy groceries. 

 

  • One Charlotte Health Alliance (OCHA) Mobile Food Pharmacy Program – This program is for any food insecure Mecklenburg County resident and those that live in surrounding areas that have a chronic health condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) or want to eat healthier. Clients receive a week’s worth of groceries with no or low salt, sugar, and fat items. Pantries are open various days and times, but the schedule is the same every week and can be found here https://loavesandfishes.org/mobile-pantry/. These pantries operate as contactless drive-throughs where clients show up, we check them in on iPads, they open their trunk, and we put food in.   

  • Specialty Box Program This program is for food insecure Mecklenburg County residents that have a chronic health condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) or want to eat healthier. Clients receive a week’s worth of groceries (a nonperishable box of canned and dry goods for each person in the family listed and fresh produce, dairy, and frozen meat for the family as available) with no or low salt, sugar, and fat food items. Specialty boxes are distributed through Grocery Home Delivery and Mobile Food Pharmacies.  

 Special Grocery Programs 

Requirements 

  • Clients must have a referral from a professional in the community or our social services staff that lists each person in the household that would like to receive food.   
  • Per referral, clients receive a supply of healthy groceries from all five food groups (Vegetables, fruits, proteins, dairy, grains) to create balanced meals for each person listed on the referral. Groceries consist of nonperishable items including canned and dry goods. 
  • Groceries are provided free of charge.  

 

  • Mini Pantry Program – This program is for any food-insecure Mecklenburg County resident and those that live in surrounding areas in dire need of food. Clients receive an emergency 2-day supply of groceries (a nonperishable box of canned and dry goods for each person in the family listed) and then are referred to a full-size pantry for a 7-day supply of food as needed. Participation in this program does not count against the 12-visit limit. Pantries are open various days and times within existing agencies and schools, but the schedule is the same every week. Mini pantries operate as clients park their vehicle, enter the facility, and staff or volunteers hand them prepacked boxes. 

 

  • Pregnancy Referral Program – This program is for any pregnant food-insecure Mecklenburg County resident and those that live in surrounding areas whose health professional deems them or their unborn child at nutritional risk. Clients can receive a week’s worth of groceries for the duration of their pregnancy and up to four weeks postpartum. Clients can pick up food from any of our pantry locations or have food delivered if they cannot pick it up.  

 

  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) This program is for low-income Mecklenburg County seniors ages 60+. Clients receive groceries monthly (a nonperishable box of canned and dry goods for themselves as well as dairy as available). Clients can pick up food from designated sites only. Participation in this program does not count against the 12-visit limit and can be coupled with other grocery programs. 

 

  • The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)/FEMA Cards – This program is for clients with specific dietary needs that cannot be accommodated through our pantry or home delivery programs, such as nutritional supplement drinks like Ensure. Clients are mailed $30 Food Lion gift cards. Gift cards cannot be mailed to a PO Box or picked up from the office. Clients can receive a referral for gift cards once per calendar year (Jan-Dec).   

 

  • Bulk Pick Up Program – This program is for partner agencies to pick up food in bulk from our warehouse instead of pantries and distribute to their clients. The agency picks up food by the pallet or case for at least 30 individuals (can include families) and packs and distributes it offsite per household. Clients still receive a week’s worth of groceries (a nonperishable box of canned and dry goods for each person in the family listed and fresh produce, dairy, and frozen meat for the family as available). This program requires a truck or vehicle(s) to pick up food as well as staff and/or volunteers to load, pack, and distribute according to NCDA food safety guidelines. We require a 3-week notice prior to pick up date during regular season and a 4-week notice from pick up date during holiday season to ensure capacity. 

 

Meal Programs 

 

Requirements 

  • There are no age or income restrictions.  
  • Anyone can sign up on their own or be referred by a family member or health professional. 
  • Meal payment is determined by a sliding scale based on income, housing, and medical expenses. 
  • Meals cost between $0.85-$5.00/meal. 

 

  • Home Delivered Meal Program (Meals on Wheels Program) – This program is for Mecklenburg County residents who cannot prepare a meal at home, usually due to mobility or ability limitations. Prepared meals are ready to heat and eat. Meals usually consist of a protein, vegetable, starchy vegetable, fruit cup, and bread. The recipient’s physician receives communication requesting a nutrition care/diet order prior to receiving meals. If no order is given, the recipient receives a moderate carbohydrate meal. Recipients may receive one of nine (9) specialty (modified or therapeutic) types of meals.  

 

 Once signed up, there is a two (2)-week prepaid trial period. Recipients may use service as long as they need it or cancel at any time with advanced notice. Meals are delivered to recipients’ homes by volunteers. Deliveries take place Monday-Friday from 10am-1pm. 

 

Barrier-free Programs 

(Photo by Lindsay Kappius)

Requirements 

  • Clients do not need a referral, but must self-register using links on the Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays website. 
  • Food Share Program – This program is for any food-insecure Mecklenburg County resident and those that live in surrounding areas. Clients receive nonperishable and fresh items with a variety of produce, dairy, and frozen meat as available.  

Food shares are typically Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:30am-11:30am, but the locations change every week. The upcoming schedule can be found at https://loavesandfishes.org/food-share/. Food shares operate as contactless drive-throughs where clients show up, we check them in on iPads, and the food is then loaded into their cars by staff and volunteers.