Quick trip turns into 33-hour expedition to feed 100’s of families in need

There seems to be little end to the single-hearted commitment to the community as Charlotte and surrounding areas traverse through the coronavirus pandemic.

One of those community heroes is Charles Robinson the executive director of the Community Hub.

On Thursday morning, Robinson hit the road in a 26-foot-long refrigerated truck to pick up food donations for families and seniors. What was supposed to be a quick trip from Charlotte to Macon, Georgia, turned into a 25-hour expedition.

Robinson and one other person rented a refrigerated truck at 7 a.m. and left Charlotte, heading to the Convoy of Hope facility in Macon to pick up food staples.

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based, nonprofit organization with a driving passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches and disaster response.

When Robinson arrived at Convoy of Hope at 1 p.m., he loaded up 15,000 pounds of food, which was 550 boxes of perishable food and two pallets of milk.

Not long after leaving Convoy of Hope, the rented truck broke down on the side of the road. Thankfully, the refrigeration system was still working to keep the food fresh.

Eight hours later, a replacement rental truck arrived, so at 1 a.m. Robinson and a friend had to transfer all 10,000 pounds of food to the working vehicle.

Fully loaded, again, at 2:30 a.m., Robinson was on his way back to Charlotte.

Every day since March, Robinson and a team of volunteers meet at Northside Baptist Church. They begin early in the morning to get breakfast ready, and then they turn on the ovens to prepare dinner.

“We’ve been feeding 10,000 families a week,” Robinson said. “It’s been getting tough.”

As the Community Hub begins to transition out of preparing daily meals, Convoy of Hope has offered this food resource to the hub for food distribution. The weekly drive to Macon will be a necessary part of the distribution.

“We want to make sure our seniors have access to great food, so they can cook food themselves,” Robinson said. “This is a no brainer to go down there.”

At 8:15 a.m., more than 24 hours after his journey began, Robinson arrived on the property of Northside Baptist Church. He and a handful of volunteers opened the backend of the truck to begin distribution to individuals and five food pantries served by the UCity Family Zone.

The UCity Family Zone is a collaborative, place-based initiative empowering communities to increase opportunity and improve quality of life.

“There's a huge need in the community for children and seniors at risk to make sure they have a quality, healthy meal,” Robinson said.

The boxes were filled with milk, fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat products.

The team wrapped up the food distribution at 1:30 p.m. at the church, and Robinson got in his truck to make deliveries to senior’s homes who couldn’t pick up at the church. He arrived home at 4 p.m.

After 33 hours, a smiling Robinson said: “It’s all good. It’s what we do.”

Whether it is driving meals to senior citizens, feeding students a warm meal or taking food to a tent community of homeless, this kind of community heroism will be here after the coronavirus leaves.

Robinson timeline

  • 7 a.m.  Robinson picks up rental truck in Charlotte and begins drive to Macon, Georgia.
  • 1 p.m. Robinson arrives at Convoy of Hope and starts loading 10,000 pounds of food.
  • 3:30 p.m. Rental truck breaks down on the roadside.
  • 1 a.m. Replacement vehicle arrives, and 10,000 pounds of food is transferred to new truck.
  • 2:30 a.m.  Back on the road heading for Charlotte.
  • 8:15 a.m. Arrival at Northside Baptist Church for distribution.
  • 10 a.m. Food distribution begins.
  • 2 p.m.  Food distribution ends.
  • 2:30 p.m. Food deliveries to senior citizens homes begin.
  • 4 p.m. After 33 hours, Robinson arrives home.

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.