With food prices high, more Charlotteans turn to Loaves and Fishes for Thanksgiving dinners | WFAE 90.7
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Charlotte-area nonprofits are distributing turkey dinners to people in need ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday.
Among them is Loaves and Fishes, which expects to distribute a record number of Thanksgiving meals as food prices and the cost of living continue to rise.
At a drive-through distribution event on Friday, a long line of cars snaked through the parking lot of the Johnston YMCA in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. Volunteers loaded trunks and backseats with frozen turkeys, canned veggies, bread and cranberry sauce.
Loaves and Fishes CEO Tina Postel said the organization has already served a record number of people this year — more than 112,00 so far, compared to 106,000 in all of last year.
“Even though many of the families we serve are working individuals, their paychecks just don’t cover all of the things, and rent eats first here in Mecklenburg County,” Postel said.
This is the first Thanksgiving since extra pandemic-era SNAP food benefits expired in February.
One woman who declined to give her name said her husband had recently lost his job, and their SNAP benefits weren’t cutting it.
“The groceries and stuff is so high, and it’s just a blessing that we’re able to get a turkey,” she said.
Even as Loaves and Fishes has seen an increased need, Postel said food donations are down compared to before the pandemic. She said that was due in part to fewer donations to food drives organized by local companies and scouting organizations.
As a result, Loaves and Fishes has had to purchase more of its food items than ever before at a time when food costs are up, Postel said.
How to help
People can help by donating more canned goods — especially canned veggies, canned fruit, canned meat, dry pasta and cereal. Postel said the organization especially hopes for canned items that are low in salt and low in sugar.
Postel said the organization also needs financial donations, which can help them purchase more food in bulk.
People can also help by volunteering to help, either at the organization’s warehouse, at drive-through events or as a Friendship Trays driver delivering food to people who are immobile.
The holiday season can add emotional and financial stress for many families, and this year is no exception. To help those experiencing difficult times in our community, we have compiled a list of organizations and resources providing rental, financial, housing, clothing assistance and more.
How to get help
Loaves and Fishes will distribute Thanksgiving dinners at daily drive-through events through Wednesday, Nov. 22.
The organization has a list of times and locations on its website, and asks people and families in need to register ahead of time to help them prepare.
No ID or financial documents are necessary to receive help.
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