SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - While many North Carolina children face learning challenges during COVID -there’s another problem that affects thousands every single day and that’s hunger.
Livingstone College and Simon Temple AME Zion Church partnered together to combat food insecurity as a part of their “Hurt & Hunger Initiative.”
A $5 million dollar grant from the The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities was awarded to college and church in an effort to help communities disproportionately impacted by hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volunteers distributed over 1,000 food boxes, 700 hot meals, and 300 $25 Food Lion gift cards to people in Salisbury and Rowan County on Tuesday.
According to data from FeedingAmerica.org, 20,000 people are food insecure in Rowan County.
“I’ve been impacted by the pandemic, paying bills and then the $600 they gave us wasn’t enough. It’s either you’re gonna pay bills with or get some groceries,” said Jessica Fox who received a food donation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity rates not only in North Carolina but nationwide. Data from Feeding America projects that over 50 million people including 17 million children may experience food insecurity due to the pandemic.
“Food insecurity is real. People during this pandemic are struggling and we’re glad that resources are now available to help those who are helpless,” said Dr. Anthony Davis Livingston College’s Senior Vice President.
Pastor Brian Thompson with AME Zion Church says Salisbury is just one of the hundreds of places in need, but their hope is to go above and beyond just a single day event thanks to the state’s support.
“The biggest challenge is making sure everybody has what they need but with this grant, with helping the hungry, it has really helped us with being able to meet the needs,” Thompson said.
Fox said the items may be small but she believes it makes all the difference.
“The little things out of life that’s what matters,” Fox said.
Organizers say they plan to hold more food distribution events in the future to continue helping people in the community.