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'Times are tough' | Charlotte food pantry seeks donations to feed those in need

Hope Street Food Pantry expects to serve about 300 families the week before Thanksgiving, which equates to about 1,200 people.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For years, Hope Street Food Pantry has made it a goal to help others.

Without requiring an ID, referral or financial documents to prove need, the north Charlotte food pantry calls itself a “no judgment zone”, saying its more profound mission is to provide humanity.

"We started four years ago out of a little old house serving just a few families," Mike Field, Hope Church's senior pastor, said.


Now like a well-oiled machine with 25 volunteers onsite, Hope Street Food Pantry is making a huge impact in north Charlotte's 28269 ZIP code and beyond. Its doors opened after the founders at Hope Church made a startling discovery.

"We discovered that 50% of the kids in the CMS school system that go to school on our street were experiencing hunger through free or reduced lunch,” Melody Leedy, Hope Street Food Pantry director, said. “And as a mom of three kids, I looked at that, and I was like, 'That means half of my kids would be hungry.'"

Leedy said they prayed about what to do and decided to open a food pantry.

"Nobody should be on Hope Street that is hungry,” Leedy said. “And that's where the name Hope Street came from."

RELATED: DONATE NOW: Making sure our neighbors have a Thanksgiving meal

On a monthly basis, Hope Street Food Pantry serves about 3,000 people. 

“And that's not even the holidays,” Field said. “We know that number is actually going to end up going up the closer we get to Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Credit: Pierre Simmons/WCNC Charlotte
Hope Street Food Pantry

The need is astronomical. The pantry provides at least a three-day supply of food per household weekly, including everything from fresh produce and meat to dairy products.

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Every family who comes through tells the volunteer in the parking lot what their needs are. The volunteers then shop for that family.

“We go through and, depending on the size, we give them a certain amount," Michelle Joy, a pantry volunteer, explained.

RELATED: Small food pantries feeling pressure as inflation continues

In addition to food, every family also gets to choose two toiletry items and diapers if they have infants.  

It’s the kind of help every family served by Hope Street Food Pantry sincerely appreciates.

"Times are tough,” pantry beneficiary Peter Jellen said. 

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Jellen said in a time when everyone is going through a rough time, it makes him feel good knowing the food is available when he needs it.

“And someone takes the time and the effort to do all this, you know, this doesn't happen overnight," Jellen said.

It would not happen without the volunteers.

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"There's just a lot of people that need to be thanked, so thank you," Jellen said.

The pantry's director said they are preparing to serve about 300 families the week before Thanksgiving, reaching an estimated 1,200 people.

WCNC Charlotte, the TEGNA Foundation, Steel Skin Realty and the Parham Family Charitable Fund have donated $5,000 to Hope Street Food Pantry to help put food on the table for those in need this Thanksgiving.

There are three ways you can give:

  1. Donate money online
  2. Shop the Hope Street Food Pantry Amazon Wish List
  3. Purchase food and drop it off at a pantry location (listed below)

Their Thanksgiving shopping list includes frozen turkey, instant mashed potatoes, gravy mix, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, canned corn, canned green beans, cake mix and icing. Items can be dropped off at any of the following locations:

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.  


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