Union county food bank sees 20% increase in families served during pandemic

Union county food bank sees 20% increase in families served during pandemic

Hundreds of food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens are working to address the growing need for food amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Common Heart has organized mobile drive-thru pantries to serve Union County residents in need. The pantry has seen a 20% increase in the number of families who've visited their pantry since last year.

Next week, the organization will hold two pantry events from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on May 12 at the Community Shelter of Union County and on May 14 at the Indian Trail Food Lion at 5850 W Highway 74.

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To abide by the social distancing guidelines, residents needing groceries will be instructed to remain in their cars while volunteers load their vehicles.

Common Heart is one of 800 agencies that rely on food donations from Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

Second Harvest needs funds to purchase healthy shelf-stable items for food boxes. These boxes will help feed families whose children are missing school meals, seniors being asked to stay safely in their homes, those in need of food who are quarantined and employees in our community being impacted by a decrease in work hours.

For the past 15 years, WSOC-TV and Second Harvest have partnered to end area hunger through the 9 Food Drive. One unforeseen effect of the coronavirus has been significant changes to how food donations can be collected and distributed.

This year, the 9 Food Drive campaign is transitioning to a virtual food drive and will only accept online monetary donations. Money donated will help the food bank purchase staple grocery items to put in food boxes.

With Second Harvest staff packing 2,500 boxes a week, and an additional 10,000 boxes a week being packed by volunteers at the Charlotte Convention Center, the food bank will be packing tens of thousands of food boxes within the next 30 days.

Second Harvest has a donation program in place with different levels of giving. Donors can equate their monetary donation to what can be supplied by the food bank.

Here are some of the giving levels:

A donation of $7 will help provide a food backpack for children missing school meals. ​

A donation of $13 will help provide a food box of 12 to 13 healthy staple items.

A donation of $25 will help provide a seven-day nutritionally balanced food box.

Food boxes are filled with a variety of items (e.g., peanut butter for protein, cereal, fruit and vegetables). Each box varies depending on what items the food bank can purchase.