CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Feeding the hungry has become a challenge since the start of COVID-19.
Kim Aprill is the Director of Food Recovery Operations at the nonprofit Feeding Charlotte.
“Prior to COVID we would do about four or five pickups each week from different places,” Aprill said.
Since the start of the pandemic she said those pickups have been cut in half. Usually, colleges and catering services donate food, but due to universities being closed and catering services slowing down, their donations have dwindled.
At the same time, demand for prepared meals has gone up.
On Friday, Aprill picked up cooked food from the retirement community The Pines at Davisdon and brought it to Faith Liberation Community Christian Church in Charlotte.
Betty Alexander is an elder at the church and helped pass out the food to those in need during lunch hour. When we asked how much the demand for food has gone up, Alexander replied, “With the calls coming in from churches and different areas, I would say about 50 percent [increase].”
A similar problem is happening across the state at food banks. Mike Darrow is the Executive Director of Feeding the Carolinas. The organization works with dozens of food banks across North and South Carolina.
“Most food banks volume is up 40 or even 50 percent,” Darrow said.
By volume, he means the number of people it serves. At the same time, Darrow says food donations have decreased so it’s costing the group big.
“We literally went from spending on average, $82,000 a month to over a million,” Darrow said.
Whether at a food bank or at a small church in Charlotte, the donations can make a big difference. It’s really meaningful to Cynthia Smith-Perkins. She delivered meals Friday to a family that just lost their mother.
“A young lady passed away at 31 years old,” Perkins said. “She has seven kids, and we are going to go share with their family today.”
It’s an act of kindness these organizers hope they can continue.
“We are hoping to get the word out to more caterers and retirement centers or any institution that has a large dining hall or even restaurants,” Aprill said.
Aprill wants them to know that they are eager to take any large leftover food donations.
Darrow said food banks across the state are in desperate need of volunteers and financial support.