Grants helping ENC food pantries boost food supply in rural communities

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WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCT) — New grants coming into Eastern North Carolina are working to help battle food insecurity and support farming efforts.

Through the help of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the conservation fund, ENC food pantries are now getting the help they need.

“We are able to purchase fresh produce from the farmers, local farmers,” said Deborah Freeman, Program Director of the Good Shepherd Food Pantry of Bertie County.

Local food pantries like the Good Shepherd Food Pantry of Bertie County are some of the organizations benefitting from the grants.

“Oh my goodness that grant is a tremendous help for us,” said Freeman. “With those extra funds we have from this grant we were able to go out into the community, connect to a lot of farmers and now they, we buy from them and give it out.”

She says, they work tirelessly to make sure people in rural communities aren’t forgotten about.

“It doesn’t depend on your income, how many people are in your household, none of that, you just have to be Bertie.”

She notes they also received money from a pool of funds from The Conservation Fund. This is helping families in need with fresh items at the Windsor Farmer’s Market.

“That grant also provides for us to connect with local farmers, purchase the food from them and then bring it over to the farmers market,” said Freeman.

Freeman says that although rural communities may have more farmland, it doesn’t always translate to an abundance of food availability.

“I had never thought there would be such a need in an agricultural area, you’re just thinking that because we are down south that there wouldn’t be such a need but there is,” said Freeman.

The grants are also helping them to upgrade appliances and other resources. Noting that they have also outgrown their facility so they are looking to community members to help continue their mission.

Click here to learn more about ways you can help out with the pantry.

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