Foundation aids local food bank

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2006

AHOSKIE – There are figures that estimate the number of Americans who are at risk of hunger or starvation is approximately 34 million.

The Ahoskie Rotary Club is trying to help lessen that number, at least locally.

On Monday, the District 7720 Rotarians donated over $6,000 to the Ahoskie Food Pantry to help that charitable organization feed some of the region’s less fortunate.

Bill and Carolyn Arrington, coordinators of the Ahoskie Food Pantry, were on hand at the Rotary Club’s meeting at the Ahoskie Inn to receive the funds, which they said helps their effort tremendously.

&uot;This money will really help us service the community, especially over the holidays,&uot; Carolyn said. &uot;We always appreciate any help we can get from the community.&uot;

The pantry, which operates out of the back of First Presbyterian Church in Ahoskie, is supported by the efforts of volunteers from five local churches.

Last year the pantry serviced over 1,700 people, most of whom were referred to the group by the Hertford County Department of Social Services.

Pantry President Richard &uot;Dickey&uot; Hoggard said this year they expect to offer food to over 2,000 people.

&uot;We accept the people that social services sends to us no questions asked,&uot; Hoggard said. &uot;We also try to help out citizens who find themselves in need of immediate help.&uot;

The organization has a checklist of items that are packaged together that includes basic necessities like eggs, peanut butter and jelly and canned vegetables.

The average retail value of a standard food package is approximately $75.

In 2005 the pantry gave away a total of $65,000 worth of food, and received less than five percent of that from federal hunger relief programs.

&uot;We survive from the donations we receive from the community,&uot; Carolyn said. &uot;None more so than the Rotary Club.&uot;

District 7720 Officer Jerry Alexander could not have been more pleased with his organization’s donation.

&uot;We wish we could feed everyone,&uot; Alexander said. &uot;These great people need all the support they can get.&uot;