CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nancy White proudly showed Channel 9 the turkey she got Wednesday at Loaves and Fishes.
She plans to make it for friends and family on Thanksgiving Day.
"I couldn't afford to go out and get what I have today, no way," she said. "A lot of family members lost jobs, and they're staying with me temporarily to get back on their feet, so I'm helping them."
Hundreds of people, such as White, rely on Loaves and Fishes, not just during the holidays, but all year-round. People are referred to Loaves and Fishes and get to shop for one week's worth of groceries.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, volunteers loaded 500 turkeys into trucks to be delivered to Loaves and Fishes food pantries across the county.
Executive Director Tina Postel said the need to feed hungry families is growing each year. She is expecting to feed 2%-3% more people next year. A new study found their clients are at or below the poverty level. For a family of four, that's an annual income of $25,750. Postel expects more than 77,000 people will need their services next year.
"Now that we have mobile opportunities, we drive trucks right into those neighborhoods and help deliver foods," said Postel.
Loaves and Fishes started new programs this year to help families who struggle with transportation. Postel said they've fed 12,000 people through new mobile pantries.
Loaves and Fishes also partnered with Lyft to help transport people in two Charlotte ZIP codes. Since August, Lyft has provided 639 rides to people who wanted to get to and from grocery stores, farmers markets and food pantries.
Loaves and Fishes also opened more food pantries this year, expanding from 33 to 37 facilities.
A new food pantry opened in Matthews this week and is the only one in the area. It will help serve a large Hispanic community.
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