Friendly Food Project helps Pender County residents in more than one way

Natalie Johnston gives hot meals and snacks to Whitestocking road resident
Natalie Johnston gives hot meals and snacks to Whitestocking road resident(WECT)
Updated: Feb. 23, 2019 at 11:43 PM EST
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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Natalie Johnston started the Friendly Food Project after Hurricane Florence ravaged the Carolina coastline. Soon after, various groups that supplied hot meals for Pender County residents left to help Hurricane Michael survivors, Johnston stepped up to help.

“The last organization anywhere in Pender County that was preparing hot food was at a church in Rocky Point, and when hurricane Michael came in Florida, everybody packed up and left to go to Florida. That left us with zero people serving any hot meals," Johnston said.

She cooks the majority of her meals in her small Wilmington kitchen but also has the help of volunteers who bake desserts. She packs all the food in her small Honda and drives to the same Burgaw house three to four times a week.

Johnston calls herself the food lady, but this community thinks of her as so much more than that. Whitestocking resident Camille Lane said she’s done so much for her and her community.

“Even if I feel like I don’t have something that I might want, Natalie has everything," Lane says, “We’re all still struggling, and Natalie is helping with them as well.”

Johnston doesn’t only make food though, you’ll find her driving the streets of Pender County every week with her car packed with produce, meals and snacks. She says this way, people can “grocery shop” in her car.

There still is a strong need for help in Pender County. Johnston planned on stopping the meals in January but after seeing how badly the community is still struggling, she couldn’t bring herself to stop. So for now, Johnston continues to cook meals, deliver food and be a ray of positive light.

If you’re interested in helping Johnston, donate by clicking here.

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