Local organizations trying to ease strain of food insecurity

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — President Joe Biden is taking action to help Americans struggling during the pandemic.

He’s announcing measures aimed at COVID 19 economic effects, including help for families facing hunger. Biden’s new executive order increases food stamp benefits and provides more nutrition assistance to children.

Organizations across Eastern North Carolina say this couldn’t come at a better time.

“The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina has seen a 38 percent increase since the start of the pandemic,” said George Young, regional director.

Young says the need is real at his food bank.

“Our Greenville and New Bern branches here locally in the east have distributed over 20 million pounds of food since the start of the fiscal year, which was July 1,” he said.

The food back is receiving and distributing a record amount of food.

“We have a lot of people in the food line that did not have an expectation of being here,” said Young.

Food banks aren’t the only places seeing the need.

“There is no comparison to what we’re seeing now, to what we saw pre-pandemic,” said Trev Evans, staff pastor at Koinonia Christian Center.

The church hosts several food drives, including a grocery giveaway started during the pandemic.

“We had about 400 to 500 cars lined up waiting to receive food,” said Evans. “People don’t wait in that kind of line unless there’s a real need.”

The concerns of food security go beyond physical well-being.

“Food insecurity has such a ripple effect,” said Young. “It impacts children and their education. It impacts employees and their work and their ability to do good work.”

Young said without government assistance, it would be difficult for food banks to survive.

The president also signed an order Friday laying the groundwork for a higher minimum wage for federal workers.

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