WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina covers a large area that stretches from Boone to Burlington. At times their warehouses in Winston-Salem feel as large.
When you add them all up, you get 114,000 square feet. Inside the warehouses, multiple forklifts buzz and honk their way through aisles lined with cereal, canned goods, and other dry goods. The machines even go into giant freezers filled with items like eggs, milk, and fruits and vegetables.
Eric Aft is the CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. He oversees a team whose job is to fight food insecurity across northwest North Carolina.
“It’s figuring out where we are going to source the food, how to we are going to make sure the food is safe, and how do we get that food to where it’s needed the most,” Aft said.
Running the food bank is a huge operation with food collection and distribution having to work perfectly together. With the help of volunteers, big deliveries from grocery stores and federal sources are broken down into family-sized meal boxes. Aft walks to one and opens it.
“Spaghetti sauce, pasta, dried beans, this box is a good one that will go to our partners that our volunteers have put together,” Aft said.
Volunteers at Second Harvest also put together ready meals that will be delivered to seniors, after-school programs, and homeless programs. On this day, forklift operators are loading food boxes, meats and other products onto a North Lexington Baptist Church cargo truck. Janet Casey is one of the members of the ministry. She is grateful to pick up an allotment that allows them to feed 40 to 50 families.
“We are here every week and are blessed to get the things they give us because everything is needed,” Casey said.
At times, North Lexington Baptist Church has fed as many as 100 families. The church, as well as Aft, fear they could be feeding more people very soon.
“We’ve seen an ebb and flow of things,” Aft said. “Right now, with the conclusion of the additional unemployment benefits, we are gearing up to see an increase in need.”
An increase in need means Second Harvest Food Bank will have to order even more food.
“We’ve spent a million dollars on food purchases that will bring in over 30 truckloads of food to make sure we have the resources on hand for the increased need we see coming,” Aft said.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina cannot fight food insecurity alone. To donate, volunteer, or host a food drive, go to their website.