CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte food pantry Loaves and Fishes says they believe they have enough food in stock to get through the next three to four weeks after seeing the amount of people who need groceries triple due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tina Postel, the executive director of Loaves and Fishes, says this would ordinarily be the time they would call out to the community for food drives.
With people out of work and children out of school, that is not possible.
“This is a crazy time for us to not be able to call out to the community for food drives,” Postel said.
Still, Postel says it isn’t going to stop them from helping everyone they can.
"We are more committed than ever to making sure that our neighbors in need have access to groceries," Postel said.
Postel says, for now, that means moving to a mobile platform.
"We operate in a parking lot, and then people who have been referred to us literally just drive up," Postel said.
Postel says once a family is checked off their list, one of their workers puts the box of food in their car. The box of food carries enough food to feed one person for a week. So, a family of four would leave with four boxes.
"They don't exit their vehicle, means that we can feed people without coming into personal contact with any of them," Postel said.
Postel says the groceries provide full balanced meals.
"We don't just want to send folks home with ramen noodles,” Postel said. “It’s going to have enough proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains."
Unfortunately, families can no longer choose what food they want.
"We've always taken pride clients get to select what cereal which fruits which vegetables,” Postel said. “It was a heartbreaking decision to have to temporarily suspend that, but we just can't have people walking through the pantry."
Postel says luckily, they were fully stocked right before the coronavirus crisis got bad.
"We just are coming off of our largest food drive,” Postel said, “that Scouting for Food helped stock our warehouse, so thank goodness we had a good supply.”
Now, their demand has unexpectedly tripled.
"We are being inundated with first-timers, people who were gainfully employed two or three weeks ago,” Postel said.
Postel says what they have in stock may only last another 3 to 4 weeks, but their goal is to not turn anyone away.
"We're all just one paycheck away from maybe not being able to feed our families, so if anyone is suffering out there, we can help you," Postel said.
With food drives out of the question, Postel says the best way to support is financial. Postel says this will allow them to buy pallets of different assortments of groceries for the growing list of people who need it.
Loaves and Fishes has estimated that a week’s worth of groceries is $33 and would provide enough for 21 meals.
To donate, you can go to loavesandfishes.org or text HungerAction to 44321.