Community

Cops, cadets, volunteers rally every week to end hunger in Charlotte

For most people entering law enforcement, there is an underlying desire to serve the community, and it is evident in the work done by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department community engagement team and their consistent work to help families, children and seniors who struggle with food insecurity.

Since the spread of the coronavirus began, the number of struggling families has continued to increase, as has their need for food.

Across the Carolinas, 553,000 people in our 24-county region live at or below the poverty line.

Almost one in five children in North Carolina faces hunger on a regular basis. Hundreds of thousands of people are “food insecure,” which means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has teamed up with Hickory Grove Baptist Church to try to change that number.

Every Wednesday, CMPD officers, cadets and civilian employees meet to assist Hickory Grove Baptist volunteers to help unload, sort, box and distribute grocery items at one of five sites on a rotational basis.

These five areas of the city have been designated CMPD “hot spots” where there’s a high concentration of crime and food insecurity.

The areas include the Beatties Ford Road corridor, Arrowood Road, Central Avenue and Sharon Amity Road, the West Boulevard corridor, and Hidden Valley.

“I see families who are struggling right now and hurting. A lot of people out of work a lot of people have multiple kids and they need this food,” said Charlie Norwood, a volunteer with Hickory Grove Baptist Church. “We need to start feeding as many of these families as we can with the food and the nutrition that they need for their kids.”

Every week since March 2020, this collaboration has distributed fresh food, produce, meat, dairy items, breads and sweet treats for families who struggle with food insecurity.

With all the challenges facing our community, it is obvious that this team will be in place for as long as it takes, working and serving every day.

For the past 16 years, WSOC-TV and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina have partnered to end area hunger through the 9 Food Drive.

The food bank’s partner agencies report that requests for food assistance have continued to increase at a rapid pace.

The unforeseen effect of the coronavirus has caused significant changes to how food donations can be collected and distributed.

You too can help by donating canned or nonperishable food items now at any Arby’s, Ashley HomeStore or E.R. Services.

A complete list of donation locations can be found here.

Because the food bank supplies food and essential grocery items to hundreds of agencies, a monetary donation helps all of these organizations. For every $1 the food bank receives, it distributes seven pounds of food. You can donate now by clicking on this link.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.

CLICK THE IMAGES BELOW TO SEE PICTURES OF THE CMPD AND CHURCH COLLABORATION.

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