Food Bank celebrates 35 years of fighting hunger

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During fiscal year 2016-17, the Food Bank distributed the equivalent of 5 million meals across its 15-county service area, enlisting volunteers to help with the packaging.

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From staff reports

Friday, August 11, 2017

For over three decades, those in need of food assistance in northeastern North Carolina have turned to Food Bank of the Albemarle for help.

What started in 1982 as a community effort has grown into an operation providing millions of meals each year to hungry men, women and children across the Food Bank’s 15-county service area.

Over the past 35 years, The Food Bank has distributed in excess of 80 million pounds of food through its partner agencies, providing the area’s hungry with approximately 66 million meals.

To celebrate its accomplishments, Food Bank of the Albemarle will host a 35th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, August 17 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at 109 Tidewater Way. The event will include food and beverages, facility tours and music by the talented Bobby Plough and Adam Nixon Duo. There will be a brief program with speakers Larry Wooten, president of N.C. Farm Bureau, and Liz Reasoner, executive director of the Food Bank.

“In my 22 years of service with the Food Bank, I have seen the organization grow and expand to continuously address the needs of hunger,” Reasoner said. “The success of the Food Bank today is because of all of the hardworking staff, volunteers, and board members, as well as the incredible support we receive from our donors and partners in all the communities we serve.”

The history of the Food Bank began in 1981 when a group of citizens organized a public forum that was chaired by then County Commissioner Bill Owens to discuss the process of forming a Food Bank to serve the Albemarle region. From there, 20 area churches, with dozens of local businesses, individuals from the community and the Elizabeth City Foundation all contributed cash, food and labor to establish what was known as the Albemarle Food Bank and Food Pantry, Inc.

During the first five years, the Food Bank of the Albemarle was able to provide approximately 467,872 meals to those in need in a 10-county service area.

On average, 100 to 200 families were served a month, and the need steadily grew. Over the next five years the Food Bank distributed approximately 1.9 million meals.

"Food Bank of the Albemarle has expanded since those humble beginnings to meet the needs of the growing population in the Albemarle region," states a Food Bank news release.

During fiscal year 2016-17, the Food Bank distributed the equivalent of 5 million meals across its 15-county service area, and "is committed to a hunger-free community, working each day with retail partners, farmers, private donors, hunger relief partners and volunteers towards this goal."

Food Bank of the Albemarle is striving to meet the “Bold Goal” by providing 10.7 million meals annually by 2025 to close the meal gap, utilizing a plan that will grow the organization’s capacity incrementally every year.


What's happening?

What: 35th Anniversary Celebration

Who: Food Bank of the Albemarle

When: Thursday, Aug. 17 from 5-7 p.m.

Where: 109 Tidewater Way

Cost: Free