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“Through the Roof” Numbers while a Pilot Program Grows and Blessings Flow – Week 6 Update from Loaves & Fishes Executive Director Tina Postel

Hello Loaves & Fishes friends,

Here is a quick update regarding our COVID 19 response for week 6.

Mobile Pantries We are getting the hang of these mobile operations!  This past week we held mobile pantries at 20 different locations all over Mecklenburg County and served 3,394 individuals (1,347 were children)!   Our mobile operation at Camino wins top honors for most people served in 90 minutes  with a whopping 446 individuals served. Click here to see our calendar of mobile distribution sites.

We are so grateful to the extraordinary volunteers who help us manage traffic, check in clients, pack out produce and load hundreds of vehicles up with groceries as quickly as possible and at a safe distance.

Home Deliveries In addition to our mobile food distributions, we are expanding our home delivery program as well.  We are now accepting 100 referrals each week for individuals who are age 65+ and/or have a medical condition or disability that restricts them from picking up food.  In just the first three weeks of this small pilot program, 92 individuals have received a week’s worth of groceries who otherwise would have been left with no options. We are thankful for the volunteer drivers who make this program a possibility!

Training More Partners:  To help manage our busy phone lines, we continue to train referral partners who phone in an overwhelming amount of referrals on how to log referrals in online.  We held another virtual training this past Friday and trained friends from the Migrant Assistance Project and Camino Community Center.   These newly trained priority referral partners will be particularly helpful with our Spanish speaking clients who sometimes have a difficult time navigating social services due to communication barriers.

Through the Roof: Each time I’m asked about the demand we are seeing my response is that demand is through the roof.  When analyzing our numbers, I was amazed to see that we served 9.304 individuals in March 2020 vs. 4,167 individuals in March 2019 through our full size pantries – a 123% increase year over year for the month of March.

Blessings:  While the challenges are great right now so are the blessings.  Every day, people contact us offering financial support, food donations, volunteer help and prayers.   This week in particular, we were touched when some people who received their own stimulus checks from the government stimulus response choose to donate all or most of it to Loaves & Fishes to pay it forward to their neighbors in need.   While the world can seem like a scary place right now, at Loaves & Fishes we get to experience humanity at its finest on a daily basis!

I continue to be in awe of our staff, volunteers, referral partners and donors who have rallied together to meet the overwhelming food insecurity demands of our community despite all of the unique safety challenges this contagion presents.

Thank you my friends for being one of those blessings I’m so very thankful for!

Stay safe everyone and as always, thank you for your support of Loaves & Fishes!

From one hunger fighter to another,

Tina Postel, Executive Director