Mecklenburg County facing a food insecurity crisis
Loaves and Fishes Friendship Trays is calling on the community to help donate to keep up with the need.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Loaves and Fishes Friendship Trays hit a historic high in June.
During the month of June, the food agency fed 10,850 people. Leaders say that has never happened in the 48-year history of the organization. With those numbers, they claim Mecklenburg County is facing a Food Insecurity Crisis. Last year this time, the program fed 8,503 neighbors.
“To put it in perspective,” Loaves and Fishes Friendship Trays CEO Tina Postel said. “In 2021, we fed enough to fill up Bank of America Stadium and then in 2022, we saw a 38% increase. We served 106,000 in 2022 - that’s enough not only to fill up Bank of America Stadium but we also could have filled up Spectrum Center and Bojangles Coliseum and the need is even higher now in 2023.”
Postel is now calling on the community to help donate to keep up with the need.
“Food drives are down,” Postel said. “We need people to actively donate food or donate dollars so that we can purchase food.”
This year, Loaves and Fishes Friendship Trays spent $727,478 of food - that’s compared to the agency spending $247,478 the previous year.
“The Charlotte-Mecklenburg community has always been generous when we put out a plea for help,” Postel said. “This is our plea for help right now – we’re having to purchase more food than we ever had to purchase in our 48-year history.”
Postel believes the number one reason why people need free groceries is the lack of affordable housing. She says people pay rent before buying groceries.
“Many of the families and individuals that we are serving are gainfully employed,” Postel said. “But they are not making a livable wage that can keep up with the rising housing costs, electricity costs, and general cost of living.”
The fresh food given is important because about 68% of people who count on Loaves and Fishes Friendship Trays have one or more chronic diseases. Fresh produce provided can keep neighbors healthy and safe.
If you know somebody who needs groceries, or you would like to donate, click here.
Download the free WBTV News app for the latest stories sent straight to your device.
Watch continuous news coverage below:
Copyright 2023 WBTV. All rights reserved.