By Laura Lewis, Reporter
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 4:16 pm
This article is an excerpt from The Brunswick Beacon. Article Copyright © 2020 The Brunswick Beacon.
It takes dedication to show up for an overnight food distribution.
That’s what Brunswick Family Assistance had as a dedicated team of volunteers turned out last week to assist with the nonprofit’s first quarterly commodities distribution for 2020 in the late hours Wednesday, extending into the early hours Thursday, Feb. 12-13, from The Brunswick Beacon’s old pressroom on Smith Avenue in Shallotte.
For BFA volunteers, their effort started even earlier the previous Tuesday when three 18-wheelers from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture in Raleigh arrived to unload dry and frozen foods at the rear of the building.
Waiting teams of BFA volunteers were soon hustling and bustling about, bagging and preparing the food for the Feb. 13 distribution.
Everything was definitely a team effort, BFA executive director Stephanie Bowen said.
Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the volunteers returned to the Beacon as well as the BFA office in Twin Creek Plaza at 4600 Main St. in Shallotte to direct parking and traffic.
“When we got here the parking lot was almost full,” Bowen said.
Some commodities recipients, she said, had been there since 7 p.m. Wednesday waiting for food.
“It’s sad when you think about it,” Bowen said. “There’s really a lot of food insecurity in Brunswick County.”
At midnight, BFA volunteers started intake of recipients, followed by lineup at 1:30. At 2 a.m. Thursday, the distribution got under way.
In all, 4,800 bags of food, plus 1,600 freezer bags, were distributed.
Bowen said they gave out a long list of products this time — canned fruits and vegetables, turkey, shredded cheese, frozen chicken as well as canned chicken or pork, dried beans, spaghetti pasta and sauce.
According to BFA, the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly residents, to provide them with emergency food and nutrition help at no cost.
County residents who meet 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible.