Supporters from across Guilford County, and as far away as New York State, have responded to the call to help Greensboro Urban Ministry replenish its food pantry shelves. We are excited to share that your response to our appeal brought in 48,514 pounds of nonperishable food and $47,800 in cash donations in January.
The cash donations will allow the food distribution program to purchase an additional 64,530 pounds of nonperishable items.
“We are grateful, and we are energized,” said Executive Director Rev. Myron W. Wilkins. “We can continue to serve men, women and families with children who are struggling with food insecurity issues here in Greensboro. Many thanks to everyone who stepped up to help. We can do this work — that you have clearly shown is important to you — because of your support.”
The Greensboro Grasshoppers donated $5,000 to kick start the community response. Cone Health Foundation followed with a $5,000 challenge gift, which donors met and exceeded. Food Lion contributed more than 3,000 pounds of food — and their volunteers helped us stock the shelves. And nearly 190 more individuals, companies and congregations stepped up with cash donations.
In addition, twenty-five businesses, congregations, schools and civic groups have stepped forward with immediate food drives. On Feb. 11, the Scouting for Food drive, led by the Old North State Council Boy Scouts of America, brought in nearly 16,000 pounds of food for Greensboro Urban Ministry’s pantry.
Lower fall and winter food donations, coupled with a sharp spike in food assistance requests, created a situation where food was flowing out of the pantry much faster than it was coming in. Though GUM budgets funds each year for food purchases when shelves run low, those funds were already expended by the end of December.
GUM’s appeal and the community’s response will add 113,044 pounds of food to the pantry shelves.
“The response is tremendous, and something for the whole community to celebrate,” Wilkins said. “To put that figure in context, our Emergency Assistance Program assists 100 or more households with groceries every day. To meet the increased demand, our pantry is distributing about 3,600 pounds of food – daily.”
In January alone, the food pantry distributed 109,593 pounds of food.
“People ask, ‘Is the shortage over? Are the shelves restocked?’ Food need is critical in our community, and ongoing,” said Darrell Campbell, Director of Food Distribution. “One thing our food distribution figures clearly show is that the food is coming in as quickly as it is going out. Our need for community support really is constant, year-round.”
GUM distributed 1,312,896 pounds of food to the community in 2016 through the food pantry and Potter’s House Community Kitchen, which serves lunch daily to anyone in the community who is hungry. The majority of the food was distributed through the food pantry to men, women and families with children needing food assistance. GUM provided 20,947 households with food assistance in 2016.
GUM’s Food Pantry is the largest local resource for men, women and families who lack adequate access to food. GUM partners with several volunteer-led food drives during the year that create the backbone of the agency’s food distribution system. Here are upcoming dates through May:
Food donations are received Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at GUM’s main site, 305 W. Gate City Blvd. Donations may also be placed in GUM food donation boxes at local grocery stores. People can also make a designated gift at www.greensborourbanministry.org.
Greensboro metro area is ranked among the fastest-growing metropolitan areas of urban poverty in the nation, according to the Brookings Institution (2014, 2016). The area is ranked the ninth highest in the country in food insecurity issues, meaning households have inconsistent and/or inadequate access to needed food (Food Research and Action Center, 2016).