THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Local food pantries say they’re seeing a record number of families in need this summer, the result of recent layoffs and the city’s economic downturn some say.
Organizers at the food pantry at Fairgrove Family Resource Center say it’s getting harder to give help with fewer donations coming in.
“In only six days, we have fed 606 people,” said the center’s executive director, Terri Fisher.
That’s more than half of the 1,000 people they normally serve a month.
“We’re beyond scared,” Fisher said. “We’re petrified.”
Fisher says a big part of why more families need help now is layoffs.
In March, more than 80 people were let go from Thomasville Furniture Industries — one of the biggest employers in the city.
“The trickle-down effect has been enormous,” Fisher said. “We cannot feed the number of people that need help.”
As of May, Thomasville had a seven percent unemployment rate, higher than the national average.
Even so county officials still have hope.
“I’m very upbeat about Thomasville and all of Davidson County,” said County Manager Robert Hyatt.
The county is working on creating incentives to attract more businesses and different industries to the city. One plan — named Project Bart — could bring up to 50 jobs to the area.
It’s a change Fisher hopes comes soon.
“If something doesn’t happen, we will have to close our doors,” she said.