RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh’s biggest food bank is busy before Thanksgiving, and it has a big brand new building from which to serve.
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina recently opened its new location on Capital Boulevard. Communications manager Jessica Whichard said their warehouse space doubled, with a lot more room for fresh produce and perishables.
The non-profit kept its previous building on Tarheel Drive open for disaster relief operations. Whichard said demand is higher this year due to the ongoing recovery after October’s deadly storm.
“We have sent disaster relief supplies to 28 of our 34 counties specifically for Hurricane Matthew, but the community has been incredibly generous, so the food drives are continuing to come in. We’re seeing those donations and we’re able to turn that food around, turn those donations around, and get it to people who need it,” Whichard said.
“The hurricane is no longer front page news nationally but our neighbors here realize what’s going on in the counties where folks are trying to restore and restock and the generosity has just been incredible, so we’re really appreciative.”
There are about 75 permanent staff members at the FBCENC. The number of workers can double during the holidays due to volunteers spending some of their vacation and holiday time by helping.
Whichard said the food bank would be unable to do what it does without volunteers. She also said much of the work now is in preparation for next summer. Donations are typically high during the winter holidays, but the need is greatest when children are out of school and not getting meals on campus.
She encourages people to make financial donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday as Giving Tuesday.
“We have a match kind of competition with some donors, so when you give to us on Giving Tuesday, that donation is doubled, and that allows us to kind of plan for the future, on into the summer months,” Whichard said.
In addition to the many turkeys donated to the food bank, staff were able to use some of the disaster relief funds to purchase about 500 additional turkeys to distributed specifically to counties who felt the impact of Hurricane Matthew. Whichard said those 500 turkeys will be used for Thanksgiving events in the coming days and weeks.