Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina is launching an effort to bring in food donations and provide 25,000 meals to area residents. This comes as the nonprofit is preparing to move to a new space. The facility will have additional capacity and the provisions raised at the “Stock the Food Bank with the East Ward” initiative will help fill the shelves.

Food Drive Manager Joe Kilar says Second Harvest typically provides 40,000 pounds of food a day for the region and coming out of the pandemic has made the need for assistance even greater.

"People who were previously not on the cusp or concerned about becoming food insecure were thrown into that situation," says Kilar. "Whether that was layoffs from their jobs, or just being out of work for a short period of time, to being sick themselves, having to take care of a loved one — those costs and those hindrances catch up to you really quickly."

Kilar says it’s playing out in neighborhoods across Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, and northwest North Carolina.

East Ward City Councilmember Annette Scippio is a lead organizer of Stock the Foodbank. She says Covid may have shined a light on food insecurity, but the primary driver is the city’s high poverty rate — 19% according to recent census data — and addressing it has been an enormous challenge for generations. Scippio says the citywide food bank drive was the outgrowth of an idea presented years ago by late East Ward City Councilmember Joycelyn Johnson for community members to take direct action against hunger. She says city leaders need to act as well.

"It’s an economic problem and, to me, we have to address getting people trained for good jobs so that they can increase their income," she says. "To have 100,000 people living in poverty is a travesty for us to ignore."

“Stock the Food Bank with the East Ward” officially begins September 24 and coincides with Hunger Action Month. Donation areas are already active in churches, businesses, city and county buildings throughout the East Ward, and online.

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