CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With a DJ and plenty of volunteers, Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church and the Wheeler Foundation partnered with Feed the Children, a nonprofit focused on ending childhood hunger, for the organization's annual No Hunger Holidays campaign.
Feed the Children worked to provide more than 2 million meals across the country, and in Charlotte on Tuesday, about 400 families were given food and essentials.
Each family received a 25-pound box of food, including canned green beans and pasta; a 10-pound box of daily essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, personal care items in addition to some toys.
Greater Bethel A.M.E. said, during the holidays, too many people – including more than 12% of Charlotte residents living below the poverty line - find themselves exhausted and without essential resources.
Dr. Abdue L. Knox, pastor of Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church, said 2021 has been a difficult year for vulnerable children and families who have faced widespread hardship and uncertainty because of the pandemic's far-reaching effects. In the U.S., nearly one in six children is now estimated to be food insecure, according to Feed the Children.
"We are excited to bring this blessed event to our community," Dr. Abdue L. Knox said. "Through our partnership, approximately 1,600 neighbors will be reached during this holiday season. Our motto at Greater Bethel is 'Love God. Love The People. Do The Work.' With the help of Feed the Children, we are able to live up to our motto."
Food insecurity has risen steadily since 2019, despite government aid.
"It is only through partnership that we can reach at-risk families during the holiday season," Travis Arnold, president and CEO of Feed the Children, said. "Many of our neighbors will go without this holiday season because they can't afford the higher prices that the current supply chain crisis has created. And that's why I need the help of our partners. No child should go without, and Feed the Children is thankful for our partnerships that can help ease the burden many families are facing. If you are fortunate enough to experience joy and generosity around your own holiday table, you can make a tremendous difference when you give from your heart and share your table."
Recipients were extremely thankful after getting the donations.
"I really appreciate what they're doing." recipient Gazie Burns said. "They're God sent."
To learn more about how to combat food insecurity, visit Feed the Children's website.