BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Southern Grocers announced last week that bankruptcy issues will force the company to close 94 grocery stores across several states this year. Among those shutting their doors, are several Bi Lo stores in North Carolina.
That will put a lot of people out of work, though state officials are hoping the growing economy will make it easier for those laid off to find work. There is also another issue that will result from the closings, the impact the stores have on their communities.
In Morganton, the store that is shutting down donates food to local soup kitchens. Burke United Christian Ministries says about 1,500 pounds of food such as produce, bread and dairy products, are donated from that store every month.
That food is an important part of the soup kitchen's operations, say officials. Other grocery stores such as Food Lion, Ingles and Walmart contribute larger amounts but the Bi Lo portion is still important, officials say.
"It will be a tough loss for us," said David Burleson, director of BUCM.
He hopes other stores and the public will help make up the difference.
"We served 63,000 meals in the soup kitchen last year and losing the Bi Lo donations will be felt," said Burleson.