By John Bailey
The comfort of a meal is something no one should have to do without.
And in June, the Catawba County United Way’s (CCUW) annual food drive collected nearly 2 tons, more than 4,000 items, of non-perishable food. This year the CCUW collected more than 900 personal hygiene items as well.
“For the folks we serve it is the difference between having food for their family or not, so a food drive like this is vital,” Hickory Soup Kitchen Executive Director Austin Pearce said.
In 2020, 8,261 households in Catawba County received food benefits through the Catawba County Social Services. That number nearly doubled this year to 15,698 households.
(In the Photo - CCUW board member Jay Teeter (Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.) helped last week to pick up the final batch of food. Thank You to everyone who helped with this event.)
Along with these resources, local food drives like the CCUW’s annual June event provide another layer of help for individuals and families in need when they need it.
The donations will be distributed among three of the county’s food pantries – The Salvation Army, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry and Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry. The county’s two soup kitchens – The Corner Table in Newton and The Hickory Soup Kitchen also benefit from the drive.
The Corner Table Executive Director Summer Jenkins said while there was a 16 percent increase in their guests between 2019 and 2020, the numbers are staying constant for 2021.
“A need that has changed internally for us is the fact we are still serving to-go and spending more on paper products than usual,” Jenkins said. “The food drive helps us save expenses on food and purchase other supplies for operations.”
provides more than 4,000 meals to an average of 123 guests per day and more than 1,000 students receive a bag of food through its Backpack program weekly.
The CCUW wants to thank all the individuals who dropped off donations this year, along with the local businesses and agencies who were additional collection sites.
They included: Catawba County Government offices, Catawba County Department of Social Services, Family Guidance Center, Dilliards, Poppleman Plastics, Century Furniture, Shurtape Technologies and Design Foundry.
Each of these local agencies/companies filled their collection bins to overflowing levels with Design Foundry collecting nearly 2,000 pounds of food.
Learn about the impact of last year's CCUW June Food Drive at THIS LINK.
To learn more about the impact of the Catawba County United Way in our community visit ccunitedway.com or call 828-327-6851.