What I learned from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC tour

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I’ve shared in the past that hunger insecurity and relief are close to my heart. I wrote a blog post about it here, and have found a few different ways to give financially and also volunteer with my time.

Most recently Amanda, myself, and our kids volunteered at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. It was a great way to show the kids what volunteering means and also teach them a little bit about what the Food Bank is doing for our community.

This week Amanda and I went back to take a tour and meet some of the people running the Food Bank. I learned so much about what they do, how their goals are accomplished, and how much they rely on volunteers!

The Raleigh branch of the Food Bank is one of the largest in the area and serves many surrounding counties. Think of it as the bulk food storage/hub where local, smaller food pantries, soup kitchens, as well as other partner organizations that are in need of food, can pull from their stock. It’s like the Costco for smaller, local partner agencies (stores) if that makes sense.

They are supported by local farmers, grocery stores, individual donors and corporations, and also by volunteers who donate their time.

It was meaningful to hear how much they care about the individual who would be benefiting from getting food from a food pantry. For example, while the Food Bank can supply several pounds of potatoes to a local organization, a potato isn’t particularly tasty without a few spices like garlic powder or onion powder.

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC has nutritionists on staff who, in one day, sorted through pounds of spices to create smaller “spice packets” to send with some of the food when it’s picked up to go out into the community.

They treat everyone with respect and dignity and understand that something as small as a little bit of spice that can connect you to your community, heritage, or culture goes a long way in feeling cared for.

The most mind-blowing fact to me was that this Food Bank relies solely on volunteers to sort and condense down the bulk food that is stored there. And if they were to stop getting their supply of bulk food, they would run out completely in about 2 weeks. That is how swift the turnover of food is to the community.

It was so valuable to learn more about what the Food Bank is doing to support the people in my local community, and I know there are so many across the country making the same efforts.

I’m hosting a local event soon at a retailer where we’ll be collecting cans and donating proceeds from any shopping that takes place to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. I’ll share more details as I have them, but until that time I wanted to also share a few helpful resources that you may be interested in.

If you’re local, they are hosting a fun event in the parking lot of the food bank to encourage people to come out and learn more about volunteering! It’s geared towards families with face painting, touch-a-truck, and more in order to make it a fun and educational afternoon.

You can also learn the difference between a food pantry and a food bank in this video. Fascinating!

Lastly, they shared their “most needed” list with me. You can find that below!

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Janna says · 07.29.22

This is so awesome and humbling. I live in a different state, but food insecurity is also very prevalent where I live. It is so wonderful to help – every bit makes a difference. Thank you for sharing!

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