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Need food? How to get it or how to donate

Local groups organize to help families to provide food and necessities for families affected by the sudden closure of schools and businesses.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The need for emergency food is expected to spike across the Carolinas as a result of the coronavirus and the economic impact on lower income families.  There are several agencies across the area to support hungry families.  Here are just a few and how you can access food.

Loaves & Fishes

  • Serves Mecklenburg County residents
  • They are a collection of food pantries across the county providing a week's worth of groceries
  • It's by referral only; referrals can be made by a professional from an approved human service organization, government agency, school, college or university, doctor’s office or medical clinic, mental health service, or church or faith organization.  Click here for more information on how to get a referral
  • Call Loaves & Fishes at 704.523.4333 to get more information here


Your support is needed to ensure neighbors in need are fed. Click here for Loaves & Fishes response to COVID-19.  To donate online click here or text HUNGERACTION to 44321.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina

  • The Food Bank is working with over 800 partner agencies in 24 counties, including local school systems, to assess how they can best be of service during the coronavirus. 
  • They are working to support several groups including families of children whose school meals will be missing during times of school closures, seniors who are being asked to remain safely at home, and individuals being affected by business closures and cancellations. 
  • All partner agencies are different.  Some are first come first serve, others are by appointment only.  
  • To find the closest agency, click here to type in a zip code.  It's best to call first about food availability.
  • Second Harvest serves a total of 24 counties - 14 counties in North Carolina including Anson, Burke, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly and Union. They serve 10 counties in South Carolina including Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenwood, Lancaster, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union, and York.


The greatest need currently is for funds to purchase healthy shelf stable items for food boxes. These boxes will help feed families whose children are missing school meals, seniors being asked to stay safely in their homes, those in need of food who are quarantined, and employees in our community being impacted by decreases in work hours.  Click here to donate 

RELATED: 'This is going to be a big deal’ | Economic expert: NC could lose up to 100,000 jobs due to COVID-19

RELATED: Charlotte-area schools offering lunches to students during coronavirus closings

NC 2-1-1

  • NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by the United Way of North Carolina with the support of 53 local United Ways and other investors throughout the State.
  • If you are looking for programs or services in your community please dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-892-1162 or use the online Search Tool to search by county or zip code.

Examples of services to search: 

  • Central Intake/Assessment for Mental Health Services
  • Community Clinics
  • Crisis Intervention Hotlines/Helplines
  • Crisis Shelter
  • Electric Service Payment Assistance
  • Food Pantries
  • Home Rental Listings
  • Homeless Shelter
  • Rent Payment Assistance

Meals on Wheels

  • To receive meals, you must: Be over the age of 18. Be homebound and unable to meet basic nutritional needs either temporarily or long term. Have no other reliable means of obtaining your daily meals.  
  • To find a local Meals on Wheels program, click here to search by zip code.  It may be your local Salvation Army center, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent DePaul, Senior Center, or government social service office. Some senior centers as well as Agency on Aging Offices may offer free delivery of meals as well.


Vulnerable seniors are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19. Local Meals on Wheels programs are are focused on doing all they can to keep older Americans safe and nourished in communities across the Carolinas.  Click here to donate.

Aunt Bertha – Connecting People and Programs

If you have other needs in addition to food help, visit Aunt Bertha to search for free or reduced cost services like medical care, job training, housing help, clothing and more in your zip code area.

WCNC Charlotte’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit wcnc.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Carolinas specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 704-329-3600. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning by subscribing to the Wake Up Charlotte newsletter here.

The state of North Carolina has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 866-462-3821 or read the frequently asked questions.  In South Carolina, for general questions about the coronavirus, call the DHEC Care Line 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.

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