food pantries

In Mecklenburg County, the number of families who need help putting food on the table has decreased dramatically this year. That's according to Loaves and Fishes, which operates 20 food pantries in Mecklenburg County.

At the Loaves and Fishes food pantry near Statesville Avenue this week, families filled up carts with grains, beans, canned fruits and vegetables, and - with the loudest clang - a large turkey. 

Executive Director Beverly Howard says the pantries are on pace to hit a major milestone. And this year, for a change, it's a good thing.

Loaves and Fishes

Almost 151,000 low-income people in Mecklenburg County will have less money for food this month.

That's because of federal cuts to the food stamp program that took effect this month. In North Carolina, those cuts follow state changes in the past year that already had food pantries scrambling to meet increasing demand.

Food Lion has donated $500,000 in gift cards to food banks across the state, including Second Harvest, to plug a gap caused by the partial government shutdown. On Tuesday, the state stopped issuing WIC benefits that provide food to low–income women, infants and children because federal funds have run out.

Food Lion spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown says the gift cards in $5 increments will supplement food bank supplies that may not include essentials that WIC buys – such as baby formula and diapers.

Michael Tomsic

Poverty is one the rise in the Carolinas. The Census Bureau announced Thursday morning that almost 100,000 more people were driven into poverty last year in North and South Carolina.