MOORESVILLE, N.C. — With inflation at a 40-year high, many families in the Charlotte area are struggling to make ends meet, and food banks are seeing more demand than ever as fewer community members are able to make donations.
FeedNC, a nonprofit based in Mooresville, is making a difference for families in Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rowan counties by feeding thousands of people in an effort to break the cycle of hunger.
Every day at the FeedNC warehouse is organized chaos as workers sort through boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, tossing the bad and packing up the good. Inside the warehouse is a makeshift grocery store for families to shop.
"I don't have nowhere to work right now," David Nieves said. "The prices have gone up, we can't afford certain things."
Make a difference for families in Cabarrus County by donating to 1CAN. WCNC Charlotte is teaming up with 1CAN to make a difference for families struggling to purchase everyday essentials. Click here to purchase items from 1CAN's Amazon wishlist and find more ways to help.
Nieves is facing the same reality as a growing number of Americans. FeedNC officials say they're seeing as many as 40 new families applying for services each month. Anyone who walks through the doors gets about $200 in groceries for free once a week. Those savings can then help struggling families afford other necessities.
"In a whole month, you could potentially save over $800 that now is going to transportation, housing, child care and other essentials that people are struggling with right now," program director Brittany Holbert said.
But FeedNC offers much more than a handout.
"They saved my life, to be honest with you," Nieves said through tears.
It's a hand up.
"We are kind of working off the philosophy of 'if you give a man a fish, you'll feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you'll feed him for a lifetime,'" Holbert said.
FeedNC runs a 12-week job training program. Nieves is one of the students who will be trained, certified and then placed in a job.
“It’s basically a pyramid effect,” he said. “Them placing me in a job will help me get an apartment and a car. Now I have transportation, I'll be able to go shopping."
They’re the building blocks to break free from poverty, giving Nieves the resources, confidence, and opportunity to provide for his sons. Giving them the life he’s always wanted, but couldn't.
“I want my kids to be 100% better than me and I couldn’t provide that for my kids," Nieves said. "Walking into these doors here, meeting everybody here, gave me hope."
FeedNC relies on the community for donations. They are building a new, much larger facility on Charlotte Highway in Mooresville set to open early next year. It will help them serve even more families.