Staggering Numbers followed by Bright Blessings – Week 8 Update from Loaves & Fishes Executive Director Tina Postel
Hello Loaves & Fishes friends,
Here are a few updates from our busy week:
Staggering Numbers: As we close out the month of April, the need for food assistance remains staggeringly high. This past week we provided 3,748 individuals with a week’s worth of groceries. (1,524 were children and 209 were seniors). Throughout April 2020, Loaves & Fishes provided a 7 day supply of groceries to 15,535 individuals compared to the 4,561 individuals served in April of 2019…..a whopping 240% increase! Despite this alarming demand, thankfully we have been able to continue to meet the needs due in large part to the dedication and support from our incredible partners, donors and volunteers.
Mobile Pantries: As the state of North Carolina begins various phases of reopening, we plan to continue our mobile pantry operations at least through May and then we will reassess. It is currently the fastest, safest way to meet the current food insecurity needs. We long for the day when we can return to client choice shopping inside each of our pantry locations but will patiently wait for the “all clear” to do so.
Second Harvest of Metrolina: Speaking of incredible partners, our friends at Second Harvest continue to keep us well stocked with fresh food donated from area farmers and supermarkets as well as through the government commodities program known as TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program). In addition to nonperishable food boxes, we are happy to load families up with fresh dairy, produce and meat. Our partnership with Second Harvest ensures that this valuable food isn’t wasted and our neighbors in need stay well fed. This week we had fun hosting a collaborative mobile pantry at Eastern Hills Baptist Church.
Home Deliveries: Danielle and Abby from our staff team have been working in tandem over the last several weeks to launch a grocery home delivery program for those vulnerable individuals who have no other resources for accessing food. We are primarily utilizing a dedicated group of volunteers to help with this doorstep delivery system but have also signed a contractual agreement with “Lyft” to provide an immediate delivery if needed. Due to the success of this program and the growing number of individuals lacking transportation, we are expanding our numbers so we can assist even more of neighbors in need.
Bulk Agency pick ups: To also address this transportation issue, we have been working with some of our rockstar partner agencies who do it all. Not only do several of our partner agencies make referrals for their clients in need but we often see their staff members in our daily line of cars picking up food to deliver it to their clients. We have added a special pantry referral feature that allows these high volume referral partners who make 30+ referrals to skip the mobile pantry car lines and they can now come straight to our warehouse for a bulk pick up. We are so grateful for these special friends who help us get food out to people who need it the most!
Our Future is bright: If you are looking for a warm fuzzy for this week, I hope you saw the amazing story about the students, faculty, alumni and parents from Providence Day. Here is a link to a news story from WBTV. What these Loaves & Fishes friends were able to accomplish in three days is absolutely awe inspiring! $150,000 towards food purchases will be sure to keep those food boxes full!
Race Fans: We hope race fans love music as much as they love fast cars! We received a surprise call last week from racing legend Kyle Petty asking if he and the amazing David Childers could donate the proceeds from their newly released 2-single charity album. We were thrilled to say the least! Click here to download the digital album!
Marathon: One of my wise board members reminded me recently that the road to recovery from this COVID-19 crisis will be a marathon, not a sprint. As a former marathoner myself, I couldn’t agree more. While I’m anxious for things to return to a sense of “normal”, I’m also humbled by my fellow marathoners who are in this for the long haul. With no finish line in site, our staff, volunteers, donors and partners just keep showing up day after day serving in any way possible to take care of each and every neighbor who needs us. Thank you my friends for being a part of this long and rugged but fruitful journey.
Bonus Bright spot: I can’t talk about marathons without also mentioning Colin’s courageous story. Check out how he channeled his miles into money for Loaves & Fishes!
Please stay safe and thank you as always for your support of Loaves & Fishes.
From one hunger fighter to another,
Executive Director, Loaves & Fishes