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Granville food bank sees surge of hungry families

'We are seeing the people that never thought or expected to be in this type of situation'

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OXFORD — As the coronavirus cuts families off from paychecks, some in Granville are hungry and unsure where their next meal might come from.

As they have in the past, food banks are stepping up to help feed the community. But as demand surges, some food banks are looking for help.

“We are seeing a lot of new clients at the food bank at Area Congregations in Ministry in Oxford,” said Sue Hinman, director of the ministry. “We are seeing the people that never thought or expected to be in this type of situation, people that have been laid off, while still serving our regular clients.”

With the line for food pickup wrapping around the building, ACIM needs help keeping up with the demand for food.

“We need volunteers to help pack the boxes and we would gladly accept donations,” Hinman said as she walked down the quickly depleting canned goods aisle. “As far as food goes, they have some canned vegetables, corn and beans.

“We do have some chicken from Walmart Distribution and fresh vegetables purchased by Santa Fe Tobacco and we hope those food sources will keep coming in to us, but we need food from other sources.”

ACIM has started using Cash App, a mobile payment service, to let people donate without leaving home.

“The monetary donations allow us to buy food for the food bank and we can get that coming in as well,” she said. “We can purchase food at 19 cents a pound and even a small donation will help,” she said.

ACIM provides senior boxes to people aged 60 and older within a certain income level. The group has received more requests for senior boxes than it has, and had to start a waiting list.

“These boxes have a little bit extra like a meat or a protein that we don’t always have on our shelves,” Hinman said. “We immediately had 250 people sign up for these boxes and since then we have had about 200 people sign up and they are on a waiting list.”

A senior on the waiting list will be called to pick up a box if someone does not pick up their box right away, Hinman said.

ACIM also helps with the BackPack Buddies program that feeds school children throughout the year.

Hinman said ACIM was expecting to get a government food shipment soon and that will help fill some of the nearly bare shelves.

Hinman said food donations most in need include cereal, peanut butter and jelly, ravioli, some type of protein or something to use a side dish with chicken.

Volunteers needed

The food bank needs volunteers over the age of 15.

“Some young volunteers, wearing gloves, are doing intake and getting information from the driver’s license to radio in to find out the last time that individual received food because we have to make it fair that everyone gets food,” Hinman said. “Once that information is confirmed, then the order is filled based they type of food they should receive.”

Some of the boxes are prepacked by volunteers and are put into a shopping cart to put in the car. Granville County school resources officers help get food into cars to get people through the line quickly. The deputies are also vital for traffic control with the increased volume of people needing food.

Hinman said because of the extra help, ACIM is able to serve about 70 families in an hour — way more than they would normally be able serve.

“A lot of our volunteers are over 60 years old and most of the board is as well. I have ordered them to stay a home until it is safe,” she said.

Volunteers are needed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 6-8 p.m. Evening volunteers prepare boxes to help pickup go smoothly.

Hinman said that every donation of money or canned goods helps.

“It doesn’t matter if it is one can or a dozen cans,” Hinman said. “Every single one helps. Your one can plus another one can and another one can will help feed people.”