WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - For the first time in their lives, some Americans are finding that they have to turn to a food bank in order to put a meal on the table.
“There are a lot of new people in the lines at food pantries and taking away hot meals that have never experienced food insecurity before,” said Beth Gaglione, the branch director of the Food Bank of Central Eastern North Carolina at Wilmington.
When asked her message for those visiting the food bank for the first time, she said, “There are so many helpers ready to lend support to you. They are there every day doing this work but now in this time of crisis, they are prepared to do it safely. They are being nimble. They are being thoughtful about your health and their health and I would say there is no shame in seeking the help that you need.”
Gaglione advised that those seeking help utilize the agency’s database of food pantries and hot meal sites, which can be found here: https://foodbankcenc.org/find-help.
This will help those who need emergency food find a place that is open, nearby and ready to accommodate their needs. Using the person’s zip code and the distance they are capable of going for food , the search results will reveal the best possible options and the times when food is available.
“I am highly encouraging people to use this tool,” she said. “There would be nothing worse than venturing out for emergency food to a place that is not open or has ceased operations temporarily.”
Gaglione said generosity from the community means that food is available for those who need it during a time when many food banks are feeling the strain.
“We’ve had to be creative,” she said. “The general public has been extremely generous with monetary donations.”
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