CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s time for WCNC Charlotte's annual Scouting For Food event to help Loaves & Fishes fill empty warehouse shelves with much-needed food for the hungry.

To kick off the annual food drive, WCNC Charlotte and the TEGNA Foundation donated to Loaves & Fishes to provide 10,000 pounds of food.  Campbell's, on behalf of Harris Teeter, matched that donation with 10,000 pounds of SpaghettiOs.

Mecklenburg County Boy Scouts will go door-to-door throughout Mecklenburg County Saturday collecting non-perishable food for Loaves & Fishes.  Last year’s Scouting for Food drive collected over 255,000 pounds of food for Loaves & Fishes and this year the need is even greater.

"Scouting for Food is the super bowl of food drives for Loaves & Fishes and we depend on food donated to restock pantry shelves depleted during the busy holiday season," said Tina Postal, Director of Loaves & Fishes.

Last year, Loaves & Fishes provided a week’s worth of groceries to more than 80,000 people in Mecklenburg County. That’s enough to fill Bank of America stadium and almost half were children.

Roughly 40 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they can't always afford food.  North Carolina ranks in the top 10 for the nation’s hungriest states.

To help combat the need for food, Loaves & Fishes has 37 food pantries throughout Mecklenburg County. 

Sybrenna Hicklin Jones used to have a full-time job, but her declining health left her unemployed.

"I’m not homeless, but I need help," she said.

The Loaves & Fishes pantry is her lifeline.

In Charlotte, around 15 percent of people live below the poverty line.

One woman, who asked to stay anonymous, knows what it's like to have to choose between paying bills or buying groceries for her family.

"It’s been a roller coaster ride let’s just put it that way," she said.

She has an 11-year-old daughter.

"Yeah we’re struggling, but we make it work,” she said.  “We have a good support system."

Part of that support system is Loaves & Fishes.  In 2019, they provided a weeks worth of nutritionally balanced groceries to 80,000 people.  That's enough to fill Bank of America stadium.

"In the past I’ve actually helped donate here,” she said.  “Now it’s my turn to receive."

And while some are uncertain where they’ll get their next meal, Jones says it's okay to ask for help.

"Nobody is above not needing help,” she said.  “You can be the richest person and you’ll still need some assistance somewhere in your life."

Many looking for better times, but still waiting for them to arrive.

Scouting for Food: Helping end hunger in Charlotte

Last Saturday, Scouts dropped off printed grocery bags, provided by Harris Teeter, in neighborhoods throughout the county.  If you receive a bag, simply fill it with non-perishable food items and leave outside your home by 9:00 am for pick up by the Scouts on Saturday, February 1. 

There is still time to make your gift go twice as far! Now through J... anuary 31st, Lori & Eric Sklut, through the Levine-Sklut Family Foundation, are matching donations up to $25,000. Your donations will help provide groceries for twice as many families! Donate today: loavesandfishes.org/donate-today/

Didn't get a bag?

If you do not receive a bag, you can still give!! 

ONLINE:  Visit the Loaves & Fishes website to make a financial donation.  click here

TEXT:  To make a financial donation text Scout4Food to 44321 on your mobile phone.

IN PERSON:  Visit Larry Sprinkle and the rest of the WCNC Charlotte team Saturday, February 1 in the Arboretum Shopping Center, 3333 Pineville-Matthews Rd, Charlotte, NC 28226.  Look for the big Loaves & Fishes trailer in the parking lot of the Harris Teeter.  We'll be out there until 1PM Saturday.

You can drop off food donations at any of these locations below Saturday, February 1, 10AM-3PM  and Sunday, Feb. 2, 12:30PM-2:30PM 

  • Ada Jenkins Center – 212 Gamble St., Davidson
  • Arboretum Shopping Center – Providence Rd. & Highway 51 (across from the Harris Teeter), Charlotte
  • Huntersville United Methodist Church – 14005 Stumptown Rd., Huntersville (Saturday, Feb. 1 only drop-off site)
  • Philadelphia Presbyterian Church – 11501 Bain School Rd., Mint Hill
  • Sharon Presbyterian Church – 5201 Sharon Rd., Charlotte
  • South Mecklenburg Presbyterian – 8601 Bryant Farms Rd, Charlotte (Saturday, Feb. 1 only drop-off site)
  • Steele Creek Athletic Association – 13530 Choate Circle, Charlotte
  • Town Center Plaza – 8600 University City Blvd., Charlotte
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church – 3115 Providence Rd., Charlotte

Scouting for Food is sponsored by Mecklenburg County Council of The Boy Scouts of America, Harris Teeter, WCNC Charlotte, Country 103.7, and Stegall Trucking.