GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina University, in partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, hosted its second annual Yam Jam on Wednesday.

Yam Jam is intended to help raise awareness of food insecurity. During the event, more than 200 volunteers sorted 50,000 pounds of sweet potatoes into family-sized portions to be distributed by the food bank. The event was held in conjunction with the Pack the Pantry campaign. Volunteers were also encouraged to bring items needed at ECU’s Purple Pantry. 

“Food insecurity is definitely an issue that not only our students face, but folks here in our region definitely face, especially with inflation and things, the economic issues that we’re dealing with,” said Alex Dennis, senior assistant director of the ECU Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. “It’s just a great way for our campus community to give back to our region.”

Nearly 70,000 people in the Greenville area are currently experiencing hunger, and of that number, almost 24,000 are children. Additionally, almost 18,000 seniors live below the poverty level, and organizers hope that the sweet potatoes will play a part in alleviating the daily hunger found in central and Eastern North Carolina.

Sponsors included the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and ECU’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, College of Business, Campus Recreation and Wellness, ECU Sustainability and the Student Engagement Office.

For more information, contact Dennis at or 252-737-4988.