ELIZABETH CITY, NC. (WAVY) — It’s the season of giving.
While a local food bank is grateful for donations, it wants donors to remember it long after the holidays are over.
The Food Bank of the Albemarle serves 15 counties in northeast North Carolina and assists thousands of people monthly, according to Brian Gray, communications and volunteer coordinator.
“It’s an essential part of the community to help people who might be struggling in a lot of ways. Perhaps for job loss, injury, or something that’s caused a family to have something happen in their life and they’re facing unexpected medical bills. It could be anything. It could happen to anyone,” Gray said.
The organization says getting a surge in donations this time of the year is fantastic.
“But, we just want to always let people know after the holiday season is over, there are many, many thousands of families in our 15-county service area still in need that need to have food on their plate long after the holidays are over,” he said.
Gray says last year they gave out around seven million meals, and the number increases every year.
“Each pantry day, we generally see 100 to 150 households each time. The need is steady. Thankfully it’s not growing exponentially, but it is steady. Depending on the time of the year or circumstances in the community, we could see additional people coming in. We always have to be ready.”
That’s why they plan for emergencies, like the government shutdown earlier this year which brought in more families because the Coast Guard base was impacted.
“The effects lingered for a while in our community. Thankfully, it didn’t have a long-lasting impact. We are always prepared in case something like that would happen again. We treat it like an emergency situation and we are ready to handle emergency situations like that,” Gray said.
But, the foodbank still needs helping hands to help carry the weight they see year long. It doesn’t have to just be through donations. Gray also encourages volunteers and being educated about food scarcity.
“You can help by learning more about the issue of hunger in our community by knowing what’s going on,” he said.
The food bank’s website includes information on this issue in the community.
To donate, volunteer, or learn more about the organization, click here.