GUM Sees Record Food Requests, Seeks Your Help

With less than a week’s supply of food on the shelves, Greensboro Urban Ministry’s executive director is turning to the community for help.

“We have less than one week’s supply of food on our pantry shelves. We don’t want to suspend emergency food assistance, but that may be GUM’s only choice. Our ability to help those in need is directly related to the community’s support,” said Rev. Myron W. Wilkins, executive director of Greensboro Urban Ministry (GUM). “We’re asking everyone in the community who can help us to donate food as generously as they can.”

“We have less than one week’s supply of food on our pantry shelves. We don’t want to suspend emergency food assistance, but that may be GUM’s only choice.” — Myron Wilkins, Executive Director

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. People can also make a tax-deductible gift on the GUM website here.

“We’ve seen increases for emergency food assistance, as individuals and families are making tough decisions about how to make the little they have go as far as possible,” said Tyra Clymer, Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) Director. EAP is serving an average of 102 households a day with food assistance, and distributing roughly 3,600 pounds of food each day.

On Wednesday, the Greensboro Grasshoppers responded to Wilkins’ call with a $5,000 donation. Read all about it here.

GUM distributed 1,058,152 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, 759,737 pounds, was distributed through the food pantry to men, women and families with children needing food assistance. GUM assisted 38,429 individuals and 20,947 households with food assistance in 2016. (Please see chart breaking down service numbers by month on page 2).

For men, women and families with children living in poverty, choices are constant and challenging. Food, utilities, transportation or rent? This situation is all too common in Greensboro, which 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).

Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Food Pantry is the largest local resource for men, women and families who lack adequate access to food. In the first 12 business days in January, GUM distributed 49,686 pounds of food through emergency assistance food bags, compared with 59,132 pounds for the entire month of January 2016. See a list of food items the food pantry always needs here.

GUM partners with congregations and grocery stores in April and October for two large community food drives. In addition, the Boy Scouts and postal workers host drives in February and May, respectively. Schools, businesses and civic groups also hold food drives during the year. These are the primary backbone of GUM’s food distribution network. The agency also budgets some funding during the year to fill in when shelf supply dwindles – this amount has been expended for the year, Wilkins said.

GUM Emergency Food Assistance, By the Numbers, 2016

Month, 2016 Individuals Served Households Served
January 3352 1874
February 2150 1360
March 2495 1477
April 2530 1443
May 3066 1621
June 3383 1725
July 3162 1710
August 4032 2054
September 3383 1837
October 3438 1880
November 3856 2058
December 3582 1908
Totals 38,429 20,947

Source: GUM Food Distribution Program Reports