SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion announced Wednesday that it is providing $500,000 in gift cards to North Carolina food banks, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC will receive 22,000 of the $5 cards.
Food Lion’s donation is in response to the state’s temporary suspension of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Program benefits because of the federal government shutdown.
"Food Lion is pleased to take a leading role across the state in providing critical funding to North Carolina food banks that will begin to receive increased requests in the coming weeks,” said Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Food Lion.
As one of seven recipients, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC will get $110,000 worth of the $5 gift cards.
"This is a wonderful donation and shows the outstanding compassion and benevolence of one of this state’s major companies and major employers,” said Clyde Fitzgerald, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC.
It could be several days before the cards arrive, Fitzgerald said.
The gift cards will be redeemable at Food Lion stores, but Fitzgerald said people should not call Second Harvest about the cards. Second Harvest will give cards to partner agencies across its 18 counties to distribute to the clients they serve.
Not every agency will receive cards. The cards will be divided among the counties based on the latest U.S. Census data.
Second Harvest will ask partner agencies to limit clients to one card apiece in order to reach as many households as possible, which was Food Lion’s goal, Fitzgerald said.
"To the people receiving it, it is a lot. They don’t have that $5. It means a gallon of milk and some eggs for their children,” Fitzgerald said.
By Meghann Evans/Winston-Salem Journal