From the web site of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina:
"Established in 1980, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina for 30 years. The Food Bank serves a network of more than 800 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults through warehouses in Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, the Sandhills (Southern Pines) and Wilmington. In fiscal year 2009-2010, the Food Bank distributed more than 41.5 million pounds of food and non-food essentials through these agencies.
Sadly, hunger remains a serious problem in central and eastern North Carolina. In these counties, more than 500,000 struggle each day to provide enough food for their families. Nearly 29 percent of the people served by the Food Bank's network are children, and another 8 percent are elderly. Thirty percent of the families served are the "working poor" people who work hard and still have to choose between eating and other basic necessities such as medicine and housing."
Given these sobering statistics, it's not difficult to muster the motivation to volunteer at the Food Bank. Today, Debra Hayley, Jack Pizzolato, Janet Willis, and I sorted sweet potatoes, gleaning the good from the bad and bagging them up to be distributed to families in need. (Interesting fact: North Carolina produces about 45% of all sweet potatoes grown in the U.S.) We had a blast, working outside under the shade of a big tree, with a cool breeze blowing most of the morning. We talked about our families, vacation plans, and how we really need to volunteer more often....while we filled two 27 cubic foot containers with perfectly edible potatoes....potatoes that otherwise would have rotted under the sun because they weren't large enough, or "pretty" enough for grocery store stock.
As we neared the bottom of the container we were picking from, it became more difficult for some of us (well, OK, for Janet) to reach the potatoes. Of course, this being Janet, she was not about to give up. Nope. She climbed right in the container and helped us fill our bags!
From left to right: Debra, Janet (who's still IN the container), Jack, Tom:
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