Providing for neighbors in a crisis

Providing for neighbors in a crisis

When the coronavirus crisis hit Charlotte, the United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas partnered to launch the COVID-19 Response Fund.

The COVID-19 Response Fund supports a range of nonprofits, assisting the people most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, this fund will help not just those who get sick, but also people who are economically impacted.

One of the recipients of the grants was Loaves & Fishes.

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The organization received assistance of $460,000 to convert its food distribution services to mobile pantries and delivery, to fund staffing and to purchase mobile unit trucks.

“In just a matter of a few short weeks, Loaves & Fishes shifted from a volunteer driven network of client choice emergency food pantries to a staff-directed mobile pantry food distribution program,” said Sue Bruce, marketing director at Loaves & Fishes. “By the end of March, we were feeding three times the number of people, in a brand-new way, with limited access to our greatest resource — our volunteers.”

To meet the increased demand, the nonprofit hired part-time temporary workers to pack up to 1,000 food boxes a day.

Loaves & Fishes provides a week's worth of groceries to individuals and families experiencing economic crisis in Mecklenburg County. Its mobile pantries operate at 20 locations, six days a week.

“Prior to COVID-19, we were providing a week’s worth of groceries to approximately 1,100 per week,” Bruce said. “In March that number exploded to 3,500 a week. To date, we continue to serve roughly 3,000 people per week.”

Loaves & Fishes is one of many organizations working to support those in need of food, financial and housing assistance.

“This crisis has brought increased collaboration between organizations, the faith community and community members to feed our hungry neighbors,” Bruce said. “It is our hope that once the crisis ends, the work will not only continue but also include the critical steps of collaboration and advocacy for systemic change to solve the inequities that lead to hunger, poverty and injustice.”

We are committed to not only feed those in need but working to move upstream towards solutions to the root causes of hunger.

Over the next month, Crisis Assistance Ministry expects an unprecedented emergency for our neighbors who have lost their jobs or had their work hours cut amid the crushing economic downturn, and due to the financial repercussions and disasters the virus has caused people.

Crisis Assistance Ministry provides assistance and advocacy for people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.

The combination of difficulties people have paying rent, mortgages and utility payments, spikes in foreclosures and evictions, asserting tenant's rights, homelessness, and a second wave of the coronavirus this winter will together be a brutal burden for tens of thousands of families to bear.

WSOC-TV has launched 9 Crisis Help. The funds collected will go directly to Crisis Assistance Ministry to help people pay essential bills.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Sinead Taylor, WSOC-TV community affairs specialist, at Sinead.Taylor@wsoc-tv.com.