Loaves and Fishes received a hefty donation Thursday morning from Publix Charities.

As part of the supermarket chain's $5 million commitment to alleviate hunger across the country, the Mecklenburg County network of food pantries was awarded $20,000.

"We just can't thank you enough for all the work you do in our communities and for the collaborative relationship we share," a Publix official said.

The money will help the Loaves and Fishes mission of providing groceries for neighbors in need throughout the Charlotte area.

"It's so much more than big checks. It's full bellies and restful nights sleep," Tina Postel, executive director of Loaves and Fishes told the crowd.

You may think the greatest need for food in the community is during the holidays, but it's not. Postel explained why the stakes are higher in the summer.

"Children, especially, who have access to free and reduced breakfast at school -- aren’t in school during those months,” said Postel.

In the month of July alone, Loaves and Fishes served more than 6,000 people; half of those were children.

Before and after Thursday's announcement, several Publix associates milled around the warehouse sorting food to ship out to food pantries.

“There are people in our community that are in need, and they just need a helping hand, just to kind of get them through the crisis, this is a great way to do that and also a great way to participate in our community,” said one volunteer.

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The $5 million donation by Publix Charities will benefit more than 240 nonprofit organizations including Loaves and Fishes. The grocery chain has contributed more than $17 million to hunger-related programs in the past four years.

If you would like to make a donation to Loaves and Fishes, contact them or click here for a list of food pantries. For more information on volunteering, click here.