BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Loaves and Fishes Christian Food Ministry, Inc. has shut down its food distribution service on South Lexington Avenue.
United Way President Ronnie Wall said the Board of Directors sent the United Way staff an email Wednesday that they will shut down September 30.
The e-mail statement reads as follows:
"The Board of Directors of Loaves & Fishes Christian Food Ministry, Inc. wishes to notify the community that we will close on September 30th. We wish to thank all the many donors, volunteers, churches, businesses, organizations and individuals that have made it such a successful place for people to refer folks for food and other assistance. We feel that we have served this community well for almost 15 years and that our mission has been fulfilled. We will accept donations up until September 30th. Many thanks to our Executive Director Brenda Allen and Staff for the awesome job they have done for this Ministry. Please accept this notice that any previous volunteer or event commitments are now cancelled."
The front doors of the distribution center reads, "Loaves & Fishes will no longer be distributing food. Please call 211 for other food agencies."
The front glass door is covered with newspaper and locked.
The closing came by surprise to several volunteers and long-term partner, the Salvation Army.
"We had no idea Loaves and Fishes was closing until yesterday when we received e-mail," Captain Jimmy Taylor said. " This is new to is and we are trying to figure it out but there is enough food to go around."
Captain Taylor said on average Loaves & Fishes served 7,000 people a month. Last month, the Salvation Army served about 600 people.
Another listed food agency, Alamance County Community Services, services about 60 families a month based on emergency need and referral from The Department of Social Services.
Alamance County Community Services Director Wendy Covington said unfortunately their resources will not allow them to service any extra families.
On Friday, the Salvation Army, United Way, Allied Churches and approximately 30 other businesses and agencies will meet to brainstorm ways to beat service the county and them disclose where distribution will take place for the upcoming winter and fall.
Loaves and Fishes was a volunteer location for Elon students though the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement for 12 years.
Students were sent an e-mail from Student Dean and Vice President Smith Jackson about the ministry's closure.
"They have consistently offered volunteer and course partnership opportunities for out students, faculty and staff. This closing will be a loss to the Elon community as well as the local community."
United Way is in the middle of a can food donation campaign until September 4th with various donation boxes throughout the city of Burlington.