‘Feed’ gives food

Published 10:54 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

WINDSOR – More hungry families in Bertie County may have less to worry about soon.

On Monday, Sept. 19, the Good Shepherd Food Pantry (GSFP) held an event commemorating a grant they recently received.

“The Great Pantry Makeover,” sponsored by Food Lion Feeds, awarded the GSFP $4,700 to purchase additional chest freezers in order to hold more perishable items, as well as to make much-needed repairs to the building. Volunteers and staff were on site Monday at the GSFP building on King Street to unload nearly 1,000 pounds of meat, canned and dried goods from the Food Bank of the Albemarle as well as enough food for approximately 10,000 meals from Food Lion Feeds.

Deborah Freeman, the GSFP Program Director, stated “It would be extremely difficult for us to do what we are doing without Food Lion’s weekly donations.”

She also remarked, “The grant is a huge help also as our goal is to be increasing the amount of food we give out each month, so we really needed those freezers as well as making those renovations to the building so it’s more presentable to our families when they come in.”

Members from various churches and other organizations throughout the county have come together volunteering for the GSFP to provide an average of 470 families in Bertie County meals each month. The county rents the pantry its building for a mere $25/annually, including utilities.

According to 2015 data from Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study, 24.4 percent of Bertie County’s population is termed as “food insecure,” putting it at high risk for residents going hungry. Food insecurity is defined as “being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” The national average for those who are considered food insecure is 15%.

The Food Lion in Windsor provides the pantry with perishable groceries, deli meat and baked goods four times every week, making it the major food donor to the GSFP. Residents of Bertie County can visit the pantry on the 2nd and 3rd Saturday of each month to receive canned goods, frozen meats, deli products, and fresh fruit as well as a monthly newsletter from the Bertie County Cooperative Extension Office that contains nutritional information and recipes.

The average cost of food given out to Bertie families each month is approximately $2,800. Aside from the donations given by the Windsor Food Lion, additional funding to purchase fruit and canned goods is given by Bertie Vidant Hospital, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Grant, the Women’s Fund of the Bertie-Hertford Community Foundation as well as individual donors.

The GSFP’s major fundraising event is the Bertie Spooktacular 5K Run/Walk & Fall Jamboree, which is held the Saturday before Halloween each year and sponsored by Perdue, Southern Bank and other local businesses. That event raises approximately $10,000 for the pantry each year.